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America Online

EU Objects To AOL-Time Warner Merger 156

A reader writes: "Reuters has a story on the European Commission having drafted a report opposing the merger of AOL and Time-Warner, in grounds that the new company would be too powerful."
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EU Objects To AOL - Time Warner Merger

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  • It is important for the day to day lives of Americans to have a steady flow of oil coming from the middle-east. In the early 90's, with the cold-war over, economics in the middle-east changed and America was losing its grip...

    It may be in my self-interest to shoot my neighbor and take his belongings, but if you'll recall, Rand decries initiating physical violence. Clearly, our gov't is to blame for a lot of the suffering over there. The Objectivist thing to do would be to trade in an open market with those who have oil.

    It comes down to the simple fact that Objectivism is an ideal philosophy that would only work in a utopia. I know that, you know that, I think everyone knows that. It would require that all people in the society behave rationally, do not initiate physical violence, etc. Perhaps a small nation could be Objectivists, but who knows. Even when the US was its most Objectivist (early ninteenth century, I'd wager, when gov't was much smaller and the US was much closer to laissez-faire capitalism), our gov't still went out and initiated force: Spanish-American War, for example.

    Objectivists argue a very simple logic, as you've pointed out: to each his own. Don't tell me what to do, I won't tell you what to do. As long as the gov't takes a minimalist approach, doesn't go fucking over foreign nations for gas, then all is well.

    I know, and you should know, that this is not true. Within any sufficiently complicated logical system, you cannot prove that that logical system is consistent (me paraphrasing Goedel, I won't bore you with the proof).

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Goedel only prove a finite set of axioms could be proven inconsistent? Hehe, so simply create a philosophy with an infinite number of axioms... :-)

    No matter how hard you try, you will always depend on faith

    How do you figure? Does nature depend on faith? Does the likelihood of the gravitational constant remaining constant hinge on faith? Does the speed of light have something to do with faith? Since we are beings that are, quite literally, part of nature, how could our observation of nature require any dependence on faith?

  • > It may be in my self-interest to shoot my neighbor and take his belongings, but if you'll recall, Rand decries initiating physical violence. Clearly, our gov't is to blame for a lot of the suffering over there. The Objectivist thing to do would be to trade in an open market with those who have oil.

    If Rand was for the breaking of the fingers of children, would that make it ok? An Objectivist cannot fall back on Ayn Rand's actions/beliefs when Objectivism leads him/her to a bad conclusion. If Ayn Rand ever did anything wrong, according to the precepts of Objectivism, Objectivists could rightly repeat that action since Rand did it.

    > It comes down to the simple fact that Objectivism is an ideal philosophy that would only work in a utopia.

    They say the same thing about communism. Why should we abandon communism and not Objectivism?

    > Even when the US was its most Objectivist (early ninteenth century, I'd wager, when gov't was much smaller and the US was much closer to laissez-faire capitalism), our gov't still went out and initiated force: Spanish-American War, for example.

    (I think you mean late nineteenth century, Spanish-American war took place around 1898, no?)
    Just as aside... Most people agree, the Spanish-American War was the work of William Randolph Hearst, the industrialist that Orson Welles/Herman J. Mankiewicz based Charles Foster Kane on. He may not have been an Objectivist, but I do think he epitomized most of Rand's ideals.

    > Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Goedel only prove a finite set of axioms could be proven inconsistent? Hehe, so simply create a philosophy with an infinite number of axioms... :-)

    Hmm, I'm not sure. I think it may only be in the case of an infinite set of axioms. I know ZFC has infinitely many axioms, (Axiom schema, anything of such and such form is true.) and Goedel's conclusions apply there. I haven't looked at the Peano Axioms in a while, but I believe there is a finite number of them, and we can't prove that they are consistent. (I hear most of the work looking into P=NP these days is looking at the axiomitization of algebra...)

    > How do you figure? Does nature depend on faith? Does the likelihood of the gravitational constant remaining constant hinge on faith? Does the speed of light have something to do with faith? Since we are beings that are, quite literally, part of nature, how could our observation of nature require any dependence on faith?

    The gravitational constant could change tomorrow, we just assume it won't. This is Hume's territory. Just because every time we have heated a metal bar it has expanded, doesn't mean that it will expand the next time we heat it. Correlation does not imply causation. It could very well just be a coincidence that every time you heated the metal bar, some other event also happened, which caused the bar to expand. You have successfully predicted the outcome of N experiments, why do you assume it will work on the N + 1th trial? You assume nature is and will be consistent, but you don't have a rational justification for this belief.

    Hume constructed a paradox, that is quite ingenius. I don't think I will be able to do it any dignity. Define grue to be a new color, it is equivalent to to green, for any date before 2001, and blue thereafter. (Perfectly legal definition.) Now, every emerald discovered so far has been green, and it has been grue. Why is it that we expect emeralds to be green on Jan 1, 2001, and not grue? Based on all the evidence you have acquired so far, it makes sense to conclude that on that date, it will be both green and grue.

    (I used to be really annoyed by Hume. Axiomitize reality, I said. Occam's Razor, Occam's Razor, Occam's Razor! But as I kept coming back to his conclusions, I couldn't help but be amazed. In the time since he "destroyed" causality, the philosophy world has been reeling. Why, I thought, there is such an obvious conclusion? Why hasn't anyone else come up with it? All axiomitizing accomplishes, is changes the blame. Why do you hold this truth to be self-evident?)

    Did you know that energy isn't always conserved? (or at least, our understanding of energy. It happens for short periods of time in quantum conditions. Momentum, on the other hand, is still pure.)

    Did you know force of gravitation is not an inverse square relation? (according to experimental evidence, its 1/r^J where J is some number slightly less than 2. Unfortunately, the electric force suffers the same fate. Gauss's law doesn't work!)

    The fact that you call the gravitational constant a constant, says something about your faith in the consistency of nature.

    Every belief reduces to faith.
  • by jregel ( 39009 ) on Saturday September 02, 2000 @07:35AM (#809115) Homepage
    There are some people who are probably thinking what right does a European entity have to interfere with a US company? As a European, I'm quite pleased to see the EU make a stand in this. Time Warner are very powerful and very influencial. AOL have a huge amount of mindshare partly due them swamping the market with CDs and a "the internet's safe with us" advertising campaign. Combined, these two companies can be very destructive, and I don't think many Europeans fancy having such a pervasive US company (or any company) controlling the media.

    Am I in favour of governments interfering with companies? If they protect the consumer then I do. Are governments to be trusted? No, but at least they're more accountable than multi-nationals. If I have a problem, I can write to my MP or MEP (and I did with regards to the RIP Bill in the UK - I also got a response). If I have a problem with the MPAA, who can I complain to? I can boycote products but when companies get as big as Time Warner/AOL, that can be pretty difficult as who knows what other brands they own? And we've already seen that the MPAA don't seem to respect local laws.

    It's not a US vs EU thing, it's about stopping a big, monolithic, and IMHO ultimately malignent corporation from pushing their views to people ignoring local politcal and legal institutions in the process. This is not in the interests of the consumer and I think it's a bad thing(tm).

    All IMHO naturally.
  • If Rand was for the breaking of the fingers of children, would that make it ok? An Objectivist cannot fall back on Ayn Rand's actions/beliefs when Objectivism leads him/her to a bad conclusion. If Ayn Rand ever did anything wrong, according to the precepts of Objectivism, Objectivists could rightly repeat that action since Rand did it

    Hardly. If one were to follow your assumption to the T, following Rand's word blindly, they would soon read Rand's words on rationality, that each Man must think for himself, and must make his own rational decisions rooted in his own self-interest. Hence, ironically, one who followed Rand's words blindly would follow no one's thoughts but his own.

    A quote from Rand: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." I find that "philosophy" to be a wise one, one that I've found fitting.

    > It comes down to the simple fact that Objectivism is an ideal philosophy that would only work in a utopia. They say the same thing about communism. Why should we abandon communism and not Objectivism?

    If your idea of a utopia is to have man's progress frozen in time, then go for communism. What achievements would a communist state produce? No one has any incentive to invent, to create, to think... in fact, folks are encouraged not to do those things, or they, being "more able" will be forced to toil harder for less. Russia had both community farms and a few farms where the folks who worked the land owned the farm and could profit from their sales. I don't recall the exact numbers, but it was something like 90% of the farms in Russia were community farms and 10% were privately owned, but something like 75% of the total food sources for the country came from the private farms. (These numbers were from a social psychology text box which I don't own anymore, so I can't back them up, sorry.)

    I think you mean late nineteenth century

    Indeed I did, typo.

    Just as aside... Most people agree, the Spanish-American War was the work of William Randolph Hearst

    How many men did he command to fight? How many rounds did he fire at the Spanish? While he may have gotten America psyched for war via his yellow journalism, is he then to blame for our gov'ts decision to fight? Hearst screamed, "Remember the Maine," alluding that the Spanish attacked it diliberately, but the gov't knew that it was an onboard explosion.

    In any case, my philosophy is fairly simple (like I said, I'm no philosophy stud):

    • Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness/property
    • Man, if he chooses, can make rational decisions rooted in reason
    • Each man should be able to make his own decisions and should not wish to make decisions for other men.
    • No man should violate another's basic rights (see first point)

    Like I said, it's pretty straightforward - let me do my thing, you do your thing. I won't tell you what to think/do, you don't tell me what to think/do. Regarding decisions that affect me, I am the best judge of myself, hence I should make those decisions. Now, how can you be against that?

    Have a nice Saturday...

  • > Hardly. If one were to follow your assumption to the T, following Rand's word blindly, they would soon read Rand's words on rationality, that each Man must think for himself, and must make his own rational decisions rooted in his own self-interest. Hence, ironically, one who followed Rand's words blindly would follow no one's thoughts but his own.

    So why constantly bring up the fact that Rand was against initiating violence? Are you just going to trust the fact that Rand was being rational when she decided that it was wrong?

    > A quote from Rand: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." I find that "philosophy" to be a wise one, one that I've found fitting.

    Are you going to live your life according to what Rand did, wrote, or believed in? While all three are related, they are very different. I doubt you want to find out EVERYTHING she did, or read EVERYTHING she wrote. The rational thing to do, is to look at what she believed in. In which case, what she did and what she wrote are irrelevent to your decision making process. When her beliefs don't work, you can't fall back on what she did or what she wrote. She could have been a terrible person that hid in church towers killing passers by, but that wouldn't affect the validity/invalidity of her beliefs.

    > If your idea of a utopia is to have man's progress frozen in time, then go for communism. What achievements would a communist state produce?

    Just because communism hasn't worked well in reality, doesn't mean it can't work well in theory. I doubt it would work in theory, like I doubt Objectivism would work in theory. The promise that something works in an ideal case, isn't enough to warrant using that theory in reality. On what grounds do you say believing Objectivism is a better belief than communism, when both of them don't work in reality?

    > How many men did he command to fight? How many rounds did he fire at the Spanish? While he may have gotten America psyched for war via his yellow journalism, is he then to blame for our gov'ts decision to fight?

    Depending on how you define 'cause', Hearst caused the war. This doesn't matter.

    > In any case, my philosophy is fairly simple (like I said, I'm no philosophy stud):

    Can you be rational if you are ignorant? I sure hope so, but don't put too muc h stock in your conclusion if you know your knowledge is lacking in that field. People have been thinking about these problems for thousands of years, to disregard their work is irrational.

    > * Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness/property
    > * Man, if he chooses, can make rational decisions rooted in reason
    > * Each man should be able to make his own decisions and should not wish to make decisions for other men.
    > * No man should violate another's basic rights (see first point)

    There isn't much I can dispute with that, besides the fact that egoism doesn't coincide with those beliefs.

    If every belief reduces to faith, how can you decide which beliefs are more rational?
  • I hope you were being sarcastic with this post, I really do, but I will respond as if you weren't.

    The most visible example here in France was someone called "the best economist in France", who was prime minister. And many top level people are working back and forth governement and finance/companies

    And France's economy is good? Don't they have terrible unemployment? Didn't they recently mandate that the working week is 35 hours and that, BY LAW, people can't work over that time limit? Yeah, I want that expert telling me when and how long I can work.

    The governement has experts to analyze the risks of each product, to ask for some inquiries, to make laws when companies are detrimental to the general good.

    But not one of those experts is me. I am me. I know what's best for me. No one else does. Ask yourself who knows you better than you? Not a single person, not your parents, not your siblings, not your spouse. You know you and if anyone should be making decisions affecting you, it should be you!

    This is typical male adolescent attitude. "I'm the center of the world, I'm one million more time clever than anyone on any subject, I don't want to accept any authority".

    I've never claimed to know more than anyone else or that I'm an expert on all subjects, you're putting words into my mouth. WHat I profess to be an expert on is deciding what is best for me. I want to be given the choice to make my own decisions; I don't want some committee in Washington to do that for me.

    I don't understand why you don't get it, governement is here mostly to serve you

    Ah yes, to serve me by forcible taking my money (taxes)? If a government was there to truly serve those who wanted its service, it would run off of donations and volunteer contributions; in essense, it would run like a business. No business can force me to give them 33% of my income - rather, I exchange, on terms amicable to both the business and myself, what I will pay for what specific goods/services I will receive. The government should operate this way as well.

  • Corporations are out to fuck people

    Hardly. How much money can you make out of someone who has been fucked? A one time fucking fee, perhaps, but if you don't fuck them you can continually receive their money over time. I've yet to have a company tell me that I have to give them money or I'll go to jail, yet the government tells me this every April 15th.

    I don't understand why you are so trusting of self-appointed bureuacrats rather than elected officials

    You don't think that the government is choked full of appointed (non-elected) beaurocrats!?!?! Did you vote for every employee in every government job? Of course not, there is no voting for who runs the FCC, who runs the FDA, who runs the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, etc. You've had as much say for who leads the EPA as you had for who runs Coca-Cola (assuming you own no stock in Coca-Cola).

    Don't you think democracy is a good idea

    Yes, I think it is the most wonderful form of government. I just want a government that doesn't get as involved in my daily life.

    I'd rather not have my life controlled by corporations thank you

    I don't see how this could ever happen. I don't want this to happen either, I also don't want my life totally controlled by the government either. I want to control my life, and I have the best ability to do that in a free market with a government that understands its role is quite minimal: specifically, only to protect its citizens from physical force from belligeretns at home or abroad.

  • So your government would expect people to give what they can and take what they need?

    Unless there is an incentive to give, the amount of money your government will receive will be minute. Granted, your government probably won't include expensive things like an army or public schools or welfare, I still don't think your government would have enough money.

    I will gladly give up some of my rights if it means saving time. Ideally, we wouldn't have representatives, right? But, it sure is easier not having to vote on every bill that effects us. I also enjoy being able to buy things without having to do research to find out who owns the company, where that company produces the product, how that company treats its employees, how that company affects the environment... It's not that I'm lazy, I just have other things I would rather do.

    Given that most people don't invest the time to figure out their phone bills, AND they don't spend enough time with their children, how can you expect them to be mindful of all these secondary effects of purchases?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 02, 2000 @11:09AM (#809121)
    If anyone suggests that the multithreading of Linux's TCP/IP is 0.1% less efficient than that of Solaris, 674 comments raise an outcry at this offensive assertion.

    Yet in this story it seems 90% of slashdot readers find it perfectly OK to say some really horrifically offensive, misinformed, uneducated, stereotypical, innacurate, unrealistic and frankly ludricous shit about Europe.

    FACT - Europe is not "socialist". Most of you probably dont know the meaning of the word. Why are legal posts always preceded by "IANAL", yet no-one makes the disclaimer I Am Not A Social Scientist/Historian/Politician/etc? Seems everyone thinks they know about such subjects already. Trust me - you dont. Go do a degree in them, then come back and read this site, and try and keep a straight face.

    FACT - Europe has a right to say something about companies operating in its arena. They are not "American" companies, dont make me laugh, what a hilariously naive idea, how can any of you seriously believe that. M-U-L-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N-S.

    FACT - slashdotter's decry the actions of TimeWarner, AOL and many, many other multinational conglomerates at every opportunity. But when someone tries standing up to this, ahh heck, your brainwashed GAWD BLESS THE YOO ESS OF AYY nationa^H^H^H^H^Hpatriotism kicks in.

    Like another poster commented... if your government wasnt "0wned" by big business, it would be doing something about this too.

  • So your government would expect people to give what they can and take what they need

    This is, bar none, the absolute opposite of what I'm saying. What you describe is statism or collectivism, where people work for the good of the people. Those who can produce more, give more and where everyone takes what they need. This is so far from what I'm encouraging. I am for capitalism, not for communism. No one "takes." Everyone has a vested interest to give, although it is their call if they do and how much they donate. The government would no longer be responsible for giving hand-outs. It is a crime, in my eyes, for the government to forcibly take my money (taxes) and give it to someone else (welfare). Fuck that, if I want to give money to the less fortunate, I will, but what right does anyone else have to literally force me to give them money and then hand out that money to others?

    John Stossel recently did a report on Why America is Number 1. Read his interview [go.com] and his article [go.com] . Note his argument, that America "is a great success story: It has the most wealth, the most Nobel Prizes, the most immigrants per year of any country and an infectious pop culture that has spread around the world." His argument can best be summed up with his statement: "One factor that really does make a difference, according to experts at think tanks such as Freedom House, the Heritage Foundation and Canada's Fraser Institute, is economic freedom -- the absence of government regulations. Hong Kong and the United States, they point out, are among the freest nations in the world; countries like India, Syria and North Korea are among the most highly regulated."

    I will gladly give up some of my rights if it means saving time. Ideally, we wouldn't have representatives, right? But, it sure is easier not having to vote on every bill that effects us

    No, it would remain representative. The impact of the government would be less. They wouldn't impose numerous laws that make my choices for me. The bottom line: I should be able to make my own choices solongas my decisions doesn't harm others. If I want to smoke pot, that should be my call, not the government's. There shouldn't be a DEA. (A side note: I don't do drugs myself; I have considered it and weighed the consequences and have decided not to use them. I think everyone should be given the chance to make this rational decision as opposed to having it decided for them by the gov't.)

  • Let us know when [France's] unemployment rate drops below 10%, willya?
    It is below 10%: you can find the official figures here [insee.fr] (provided you can read French, of course). Remember, incidentally, that the European definition of "unemployed" is broader than the American one so that comparison is biased.

    Along that line I could ask you to let "us" know when your poverty level (percentage of population whose income is less than half the national median) drops below 10%, but I frankly don't care. If you want to see an interesting comparison of the US with other rich world countries, see e.g. this page [huppi.com], it's very instructive and you'll learn that several countries can "keep up with the US" as you put it. But this is widely off topic.

    A little more to the point, you say you think that they [European countries] became less socialistic. There is no doubt that Eastern European countries did (though in some countries, e.g. Russia, economic disaster has brought the communists back in popularity), but as far as Western European countries go, well, I have some news for you: the United Kingdom has a labor government; Germany is governed by a socialist / ecologist coalition; the socialist party heads the government in France, and there are several communist ministers; Portugal has a socialist government; Italy is governed by a coalition that is moderately left wing; and, you may believe it or not, but we have free elections even East of the Atlantic, and these various governments were freely chosen by the people. The European Parliament, on the other hand, has a comfortable right-wing majority. Also freely chosen.

    The plain fact is not that socialism is good or bad; the plain fact is that you do not have a clue what socialism is.

  • Except that governement is held accountable, so if it wants to get re-elected (usually one of his top goals), rest assured the democratically elected people will choose competent people

    Ah, like crack-smokin' Bush and Internet-creating Gore? The government panders to people's votes; corporations pander to people's dollars. Each has a measure of checks and ballances: if the gov't screws up, they don't get re-elected; if a corp. screws up, it looses consumers.

    Ever heard of AT&T and Microsoft. It is difficult to control you openly, but sure enough, the companies are trying to control you in subtle ways

    Microsoft is trying to control me? How? By coming to my house and requiring me to pay them money or face a prison sentence? By requiring me, at times, to join an army and risk death in a war I might be against? Oh wait, that is the government, my bad.

    Pure libertarian. It doesn't work though ; of course you won't believe me

    I disagree with you indeed. I agree that it hasn't worked yet, but I think in certain circumstances it could work.

    Since you are in a democratic country, you have to bend by the rules of the society

    Regardless of what kind of government you are living under, you have to bend to the rules of society, unless you wished to be labelled an outcast. Society and government are two different things.

  • No expert decided that you have to work 35 hours. It is just a society choice

    So society decides that 35 hours is the max... an individual in France wants to work more, to better provide for his family, but must bend to the whims of others or risk breaking the law? I would never, ever live in a country that tells me in flat terms the number of hours I can legally work. That is my decision and mine alone.

    you are displaying a amazing level of shortsightness for someone who claims to belong to the "elite"

    I don't claim to be in the "elite." I don't believe there is an elite. I believe every person (lest they've had traumatic brain damage or psychological illness) has the ability to reason and form rational decisions.

    If what you said were true, then you wouldn't go and see the doctor when you are ill

    When did I say this? I said I have the right to make my own decisions. I'd decide to go see a doctor. What I don't want is a government law saying I can't, or that I have to go see a doctor. It is my choice whether or not I want to go see a doctor, no one else's.

    First you will notice that you are not the center of the world, so you definitly can't tell what is the "general good"

    You have put a lot of words into my mouth. I never said I could tell what is good for the general good. I can, however, tell what's best for me.

    I am not saying that I am an expert who knows everything, I am anything but that. I am an expert on one thing, though: myself. I am a reasonable person who can make rational decisions. What right do you have to make my decisions for me? You are obviously a socialist, one who believes that the rights of the many supercede the right of the individual. I am on the exact opposite pole. This does not mean I think only about myself - I volunteer time and money to worthwhile organizations. What it does mean, though, is that I can make my own decisions and relish the opportunity to do such! I don't want others making those decisions for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    FACT - Europe is not "socialist".

    Well much less than it used to but still more so than the US. With the exception of the UK, the European economy is still under more goverment control than the US was even at the peak of its mixed economy experimentation (during and after Nixon).

    FACT - Europe has a right to say something about companies operating in its arena.

    True again. But should continental Europe have the right to treat US companies differently? (See the one of the posts above.) The US pretty much (with some idiotic Jesse-Helms/Dick Gephardt inspired exceptions) treats foreign multinationals the same as homegrown ones. Union-boys in Europe are pretty vocal, aren't they? Bit of European-style jingoism there, hmmm?

    FACT - slashdotter's decry the actions of TimeWarner, AOL and many, many other multinational
    conglomerates at every opportunity. But when someone tries standing up to this, ahh heck, your brainwashed GAWD BLESS THE YOO ESS OF AYY national patriotism kicks in.

    Well, I'll give you humor points for that, but come on: a good chunk of these anti-corporate screeds on /. probably come from Europeans anyway.
  • Child labor. You would rather that the children received no work at all than the amounts of money the companies pay them? They and their parents obviously feel that the work is worth the money to them. Who are you to second guess them? Yes, it's unfortunate they get paid so little, but where are you going to get the money to pay them more? You suggest the rest of the country does? Or you suggest that the corporation does? Neither are just nor promote a free society.

    Environmental abuse. The environment is a shared resource and thus no person or corporation has the right to pollute the air and such. This is government regulated for a reason, though I disagree with the method of regulation.

    Boycotts are powerful, but not so nearly as powerful as competition and other forms of natural selection in a capitalist economy. The man you responded to did not limit his discussion to boycotts; you did.
  • by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <mitchell&4guysfromrolla,com> on Saturday September 02, 2000 @11:50AM (#809128) Homepage
    Child labor, workplace abuse, etc. is different. In those situations, a person's basic rights were violated: right to life, libery, pursuit of happiness/property. How does the fact that AOL now owns TimeWarner violate anyone's unalienable rights?

    There have been several boycotts that have worked perfectly well without government intervention. Do you see the government making a big fuss over the Firestone tires? Nope, Firestone is recalling them on their own. Savvy consumers == business that operate morally/ehtically. When you have ignorant consumers that demand the government to protect them from corporations, everyone looses some of their freedom to the government. While the ignorant consumers may be willing to loose some freedom so that they don't have to be intelligent consumers, so that they don't have to think about what they are spending their money on, savvy consumers loose out.

  • So why constantly bring up the fact that Rand was against initiating violence

    Because you've continually misquoted her (or taken her words out of context).

    On what grounds do you say believing Objectivism is a better belief than communism, when both of them don't work in reality?

    One encourages man to do his best; the other encourages man to do his worst. Objectivism rewards intelligence, hard work, and effort; Communism punishes those same virtues. With Objectivism, you will have a harder life being mentally retarded, physically disabled, riddled with more kids than you can support; in Communism, such a person would have the same standing as one who worked hard and made wise decisions (you know, we could have unprotected sex and risk pregnancy, but it would be wise not to, since we can't afford another child right now).

    I ... don't put too much stock in your conclusion if you know your knowledge is lacking in that field

    As you shouldn't. I have never claimed to be a philosophy person, an expert on the subject. However, who knows my life, my morals, my ethics, better than me? Aristotle? Hume? Calvin? Hobbes? Calvin & Hobbes? Rand? No. None of them know me as well as I do.

    People have been thinking about these problems for thousands of years, to disregard their work is irrational

    Ah! You're putting words into my mouth again. I never said I disregarded the works of others. I've read more Rand than other people, granted, but that does not mean I disregard all other thoughts. To stop thinking, to stop questioning, that's what I'm against.

    There isn't much I can dispute with that, besides the fact that egoism doesn't coincide with those beliefs

    How so? Explain yourself.

    If every belief reduces to faith, how can you decide which beliefs are more rational

    As I said last post, those views that I perceive are the most rational. What is more rational, to think that I can fly or not? Observation has taught me that I cannot fly, hence it is more rational to know that I cannot fly than assume that I might be able to. You must go with your perception and observations, or you will be able to justify hate and violence. "Well, I shot him in the head, but that is just one way to perceive reality, he is still alive, I have done nothing wrong."

  • > Because you've continually misquoted her (or taken her words out of context).

    How have I misquoted her by using her ethics system? I have brought up a few examples where it is in your best interest to initiate violence, or something similar, but, you say, it is wrong because Rand says initiating violence is wrong. If I am misusing her ethics system, please point out the wrong assumption I've made, or the wrong step I took. Don't tell me my conclusion is wrong because Ayn Rand is for/against something. We won't make any progress that way.

    > One encourages man to do his best; the other encourages man to do his worst. Objectivism rewards intelligence, hard work, and effort; Communism punishes those same virtues.

    Besides assuming them, how do you know intelligence, hard work, and effort are good. Its very possible you have been brought up from birth to believe in those lies. Communism encourages sharing! If I understand your argument correctly, Objectivism is better than communism, because Objectivism says Objectivism is better.

    If it doesn't work in the real world, why use it? If reality is the final arbiter, and reality says it doesn't work, don't use it!

    > I have never claimed to be a philosophy person, an expert on the subject. However, who knows my life, my morals, my ethics, better than me? Aristotle? Hume? Calvin? Hobbes? Calvin & Hobbes? Rand? No. None of them know me as well as I do.

    You have formed opinions without gathering all of the evidence.

    > > People have been thinking about these problems for thousands of years, to disregard their work is irrational
    > Ah! You're putting words into my mouth again. I never said I disregarded the works of others. I've read more Rand than other people, granted, but that does not mean I disregard all other thoughts. To stop thinking, to stop questioning, that's what I'm against.

    You put a lot of stock in the conclusions Rand has reached. I assume you base decisions off of her conclusions. Limiting yourself to, basically, two view points is commiting yourself to ignorance. You can learn a lot from those dead people, and that knowledge can affect the way you make decisions.

    We agree that when answering a question, you should try to acquire as much information as reasonably possible before making a commitment. It is bad to answer a question without doing enough research into the question, but isn't it just as bad to answer a question using tools that you haven't done much research into? The assumptions you base your answer on are just as important as the knowledge you have about the problem. If you use those assumptions in EVERY decision you make, shouldn't you invest a lot of time into determining their validity?

    Yes, ultimately it all comes down to you, and how you choose to use the tools... but, actively avoiding information about those tools and new tools, is irrational. As a rational person, it is your responsibility to make sure that what you believe in is sound. Is reading a few books by the same person and reasoning enough? I wish it was. Unfortunately, it is too easy to be deceived. The only thing infinite, is our ability for self-deception.

    By me reading Atlas Shrugged, I will better understand my beliefs, regardless of what they were before, or what they will become. To avoid acquiring that knowledge is stupid, right? After I finish reading, I should have, and will, have more confidence in the decisions I make. I will have a firmer grasp of why I believe what I believe, and therefore better reasons for why I choose what I choose.

    A lot of people thought they were right, when they were wrong. Were they being irrational, they didn't think so. Only after having other people look at the problem, or by looking at the problem from a different perspective were they able to see the error. To assign complete faith in your ability to always be rational, is irrational.

    You know those sliding puzzles... They are missing a piece, enabling you to slide rows/columns of pieces horizontally/vertically. I once saw a friend working on one, I looked at it for a bit, then concluded that it was unsolvable. Its an easy enough proof, you look at how much disorder, if it is odd, you can't solve it. My friend, stubborn as he was, plodded on, confident that the puzzle solvable, and sure enough, it was. My reasoning was correct, but I failed to notice that two pieces were identical. I couldn't imagine a case where my proof wouldn't work. Was I rational or irrational?

    Is reason the holy grail of decision making? No, it isn't perfect! We still have progress to make.
    > > There isn't much I can dispute with that, besides the fact that egoism doesn't coincide with those beliefs
    > How so? Explain yourself.

    According to egoism, you would let that bum die, since it does not serve your self-interest. He must not have a right to life.

    > As I said last post, those views that I perceive are the most rational. What is more rational, to think that I can fly or not? Observation has taught me that I cannot fly, hence it is more rational to know that I cannot fly than assume that I might be able to. You must go with your perception and observations, or you will be able to justify hate and violence. "Well, I shot him in the head, but that is just one way to perceive reality, he is still alive, I have done nothing wrong."

    You believe the next emerald will be green, I believe the next emerald will be grue. Which one of us is being more rational, and why.
    Someone else believes that the action of the world is consistent with a supreme being, why is your belief more rational?
    All available information says this system is consistent, is it rational to conclude no new information will surface and show otherwise?

    Ultimately, it is a matter of opinion, and not a matter of truth. If both conclusions are valid, whichever one you choose is a matter of taste, not of correct/incorrect.
  • First thing to say is it has been good to hear the 'other' side from someone who is able to reply with a decent argument for a change. Of those I have talked to in person, I usually don't get responses to my arguments, and of those on the net it usually has fallen into abuse which this hasn't. Merci.

    You are very welcome :)

    but because UK is less attractive for them

    This is a possibility I don't disagree but we will have to agree to disagree as to whether it is the main reason. There are lots of factors of course such as building another factory in the same country is not something many companies investing in a foreign market would do, as it is silly to put all the eggs in one basket.


    I would agree with that, it is not clear what are the main factors for this. But being involved in a business myself in France, I would feel more comfortable expanding in Euro countries than in UK or other non-Euro countries. Having one single currency everywhere, one set of purchases prices in Euros, not having to deal with fluctuations or convertion charges is a great thing. Of course the same goes for metric units in other fields ;)

    You can't argue that not being in the Euro zone is hurting business...

    Oh yes I can.. ;-) It is hurting some, and is a positive boom to others. Certainly more American firms are investing in the UK because they didn't join. But any European firms operating in the UK are of course being hurt and vice-versa. There are trade offs without a doubt. Interestingly, I heard of a company from Holland that pays one Dutch subsidurary from another Dutch subsiduary via the UK in order to use the currency fluctuations! It made the programming harder for the person involved but he thought that was a sneaky way to make some money. (At least at the moment while the Euro continues to slide).


    Well there are certainly some niches where being in Europe but outside of the Euro can be of some help. But "simple is beautiful", and one currency is as simple as it can get. I would bet a lot that the UK will get in the Euro in the next 10 years, one way or another (call me an optimist or a pessimist ;). The UK politicians who are against-Euro are a lot so because it makes them popular. Once they get elected, they'll do like politicians everywhere : put their big popular ideas in their pocket and have to deal with the fact. In the middle ages, there was hundreds of different currencies in Europe. Now there's about a dozen. In 2002 there'll be less than half a dozen. Someday the whole planet will probably use one single currency. No one can go against history, not even a whole country.

    I wish they would stop following the US everywhere

    It probably looks that way from the outside, but in most cases we (as in UK and US) tend to agree though rather than just following the US. One of those where we didn't was Kosovo, where the US didn't want to commit ground troops: who did, but the British, the French... And it's not like there is British Troops at Guatanamo Bay, or in Panama. And ironically enough, and although I disagree with it, the British have had troops in Columbia for a very long time now on covert missions, long before the US really got involved. Sometimes the US follows the UK..


    OK, lets say that the US and UK have strong political bonds and synchronised foreign and economical policies.

    Andorra could have a bigger economy than the US

    Along with Ibiza and Lichtenstein they certainly have a big 'laundry' business, so you never know


    Another place where we need more Europe :) It's no use to making anti-moneylaundry policies if rogue nations like Monaco - or the Jersey islands (which happen to be UK owned money-laundering facilities...)

    it seems UK is only in the EU to destroy the EU

    That is the first time I have heard it put like that. From my point of view, and not intending to be rude, it seems that the UK is always having to stand up to German demands which are backed up by France who are in agreement just to suck up to them.


    I agree that the Germany-France block is strong - but the way the UK fight this is a dead-end : UK should try to either offer other solutions that go forward in the EU integration, seeking the support of other European countries. The way I see it, the UK choosed rather to be the one playing alone, away from the other "kids", and using its veto power to stop things from moving. So far it seems the only thing that interest UK in the EU is the economic integration and free-market, and everything else (politics, social, etc..) is deemed as an the end of the world.

    doubt this is the case, but sometimes it is hard not to take the slightly more objective view. Again, I think that always trying to block everything... is OTT, and maybe because it is more of the blocking that gets reported on the continent than the agreements (unsuprisingly!). This is the problem of trying to integrate such different peoples as we know, and I don't think it will work without more say from the populous. One of the problems of the UK is that the European Parliament elections are seen as an opportunity to protest against the government, and not as voting for the equivalent of a Senator in the US.

    I didn't knew about that. Well, in the future the EU parliement is probably going to end like the US senate, with similar powers... a rather serious matter.

    It doesn't help when we have failed politicians in high office in the European Parliament either (I am thinking of Neil Kinnock). But the effect is not seen directly, and when decrees are passed down by Europe, it is not generally understood that these people were voted in, and all that is seen is the ridiculous beurocracy, the perks, the big expense accounts, the 'club' atmosphere that seems to pevade the commission. It makes it hard to take these people seriously as 'representatives'.

    Some thing everywhere, same story of "bureaucrats" imposing "silly" laws that disturb the avarage law-abiding citizen... we get that stuff here too. But like many of the shortcomings of the EU that you point out (and many of them I'll agree with), this is a problem that can be solved with more EU, more involvement of every European citizen in the union life, etc. The UK people need to be educated about how the EU institution work, how they can contribute to it - but instead they get the same bullshit of the British medias blowing out of proportions (and often writing total lies) regulations from EU. (makes me wonder who is controling those papers and has such great interests to manipulate the opinion that way... hummmm)

    My bet is that the officials know better than the average citizen

    I have to disagree. I think that most people realise that it is going to be hard to avoid, but whereas most politicians seem to be happy to go in with the current setup, most citizens aren't.


    No offense here to anyone - but the more I get through life, the more I realise that well over 50% of peoples are total morons that can hardly put two ideas together, let alone have a structured political stand. So while I believe in democracry, I still believe that politicians have usually better informations into their hands that their electors, and if some of them in UK are still supporting the Euro with all the risk involved (esp. not being re-elected), it probably means they have very strong reasons to do so.

    You may be surprised but the split is actually pretty even in UK politics between those for and against, but most of the respected commentators that are against which ARE a majority, tend to point out the corruption and failure of the ECB to have strong policies. Germany certainly kept their economy stronger when they were not harnessed by it.

    Well, seing how Volkwagen, Mercedes and BMW have grown from local manufacturers to world heavyweights, I'd say they did great lately. The French did quite well too (Renault bought Nissan).. That might or might not be related to the growth of the EU, but I'm sure VW enjoys being able to make all accounting with Seat with the same currency :). Now what did happen to the UK car industry - Jaguar, Roll's Royce, Rover ? You'd think cheap salaries, flexible job market, loose regulations would have been great for them. Turns out that the countries with the heaviest taxes and regulations did better, maybe because this push companies to do their best to improve productivity, instead of letting them rely on the governement to lower costs.

    Perhaps the best solution is for the UK to leave the union altogether, and then this would help the Euro, the Union get things sorted within, and then when we do have to join if this is the case, we would have to be accepted on the Union terms, which would either be acceptable to the average UK citizen or not, but at least they would know what they were agreeing to, and not as before when the populous thought they were just joining a Free Trade area... Like THAT will happen though! Oh well.

    I'd definitely be in favor of something like that. It's clear that what was once a free-trade communities is growing more and more and becoming a US of Europe. I can certainly relate to the people who fear for the loss of their countries specificities, but it's either the EU or becoming another USA vassal...

    be a African currency is.. the France CFA

    I was told about the Afro by a friend when in Kenya (he worked there, and now in Sudan) and did see something mentioned in The Daily Nation. Unfortunately they don't have a Search function, so I can't see if the article was even out on the web. He said that it would link up the Central African currencies such as the CFA with those of Kenya and Zimbabwe for example, but it was only in the early stages of being talked about. (BTW, Whilst I was out there I also saw a first draft UN reports, and the final version was heavily censored for 'political' reasons). Anyway, I can't see it happening either, and that's why I was agreeing that the best chance of competition for the US$ would be a harmonised Eurozone..


    The best and only, or maybe the Chinese Yuhan. I think the choice should be offered to UK citizens like this : "Would you rather use the Euros, or the USD ? Because it's going to be one of them anyway."

    Well I lobby for "one citizen, one vote", but many countries (including UK) are opposed to this system, since they means giving away some of the control they have over EU matters.

    This made me laugh, I know it is just a miscommunication. Unless you really are saying that in France not every citizen has a vote? Mais, non! Ce n'est pas vrai! LOL.


    The French system sucks on that indeed - about every decades they change the voting system so that the dominant party gets more power. OTHO it makes for more stable and long terms politics...

    Proportional Representation is the fairest way of electing representatives, but it also causes other problems. Just as the extreme was ethnic cleansing in Kosovo/Bosnia etc it tends to segregate people from different cultures and those of different beliefs. If that problem could be overcome, I would be for it as long as the politicians could stop the squabbling that is so inherent in the countries using PR at the moment.

    Hopefully sometimes people will vote for the EU parliement elections not based on nationality but on its political orientation. For example, I voted at the ICANN for a German, not a French, because I don't care what country the guy is from, as long as we share the same ideas. I think that in the EU, my interest are best preserved by a Greek that shares my ideas that by a French that have different ones.

    BTW, won't that be neat to be paid in Euro in Germany and buy in Euros in Holland, and have Le Monde have se same price in Euros everywhere ?

    Well, it would be. But I get paid in Pounds because the rates for my job in the UK are better .. :)


    Can't blame you on that one ;)

    But do you think that Le Monde will be the same price across the whole of Europe soon? I think it will be a long time before that happens.

    I think it will happen quickly, because the different prices on the paper will be all in the same currency. People will then discover how much MORE than the French price they have to pay, and the newspaper will have to trim down the price... one currency will certainly help flatten prices different between countries (it already does : many French people now buy their car in Belgium or Spain where it is cheaper, and pay in Euros).

    It is just fairness I am looking for.

    Who can argue against that :)

    we knew about English food before ;)

    Best food I have had? In Montreal, where our cultures combine. Maybe you are right about that Union thing.. ;-)


    The first time I came to UK, I though the horror stories about British food was merely a myth propagated by French chauvinist. Then my first meal arrived : 3 kinds of pork sausages, some with lemon, others with appricot and the last kind with mint inside... the boiled potatoes were fine, but served with a "low fat - 100% artifical butter"... I'm still wondering why your fellow countrymen put so much efforts into destroying food.

    UK hasn't really proven to be a partner to the EU

    Maybe not, but listen to the politicians: we are virtually always described as partners... This was what I was referring to. There seems to be a contradiction here.


    Politicians babble... have you noticed too that, when two companies make a deal, they are "partners" ? What kind of partners ask you for a multi-million dollar check in return for a favor ???

    remember the coal agreement back in the 50s

    Well, I know of it, but I don't remember it, having been born twenty years later... :) History has a habit of providing strange twists, and this was one of them really when looking at the history between the French and the Germans even in the previous fifty years. Who knows what might happen: what would happen if we did what the Dutch did for the Norh Sea and claimed some of La Manche back for land...


    Then another Jeanne d'Arc would have risen and kicked you out of our land ;)

    We all dream of Utopia. I really don't see it working better than the US though, and we have the added problem of speaking lots of different languages let alone dialects!

    I'd say this is an advantages because this will force at least some de-centralisations for local problems (which are still best left to local people). Multi-languages is great too to piss-off Americans (trying to sell their products here is a real challenge with all the markets, while we can easely sell into their local market)

    It would be nice for the officials to be in touch, and it would be nice if we could vote on more of the issues that we are involved in, but I really do think that this is a dream. Malheureusement.

    To do that we need to have a stronger EU, because they won't ask for our opinion if they can only draft laws about the bananas shappe and size.

    T[h]atcher, but then everybody and their dog is too

    LOL. Even Haider, that Austrian Politician whose name I am not sure of? Well, maybe. But she did get us out of a pretty bad situation (created by a Socialist government in the 1970s) in fairness to her, even if she was extreme once we out of it, and needed locking up.


    Humm, kinda like fighting a plague with an atomic bomb. Might be efficient, but what a mess ! I'm pretty sure she'll have a nice place for herself in hell (next to her best friend Augusto).

    get your sword (on your left) with your right hand

    Well personally I would have my lance in my right hand, and be holding onto the reigns with my left, as it goes back to the times of jousting.


    Jousting is for sissies - real fights are made with a sword !

    What I don't understand is that if we held the sword with our right hand why is it that we shake hands with our right hands? Surely that means that we would have to swap which hand was holding the sword? And if you didn't really trust each other.. Well, I can see another reason how the population was kept down!

    Well according to my history teacher that was precisely because the right hand is usually the one you use to hold a knive, that people shake hands with the right hand. Then you are 90% sure they won't rip your guts open when you least expect it. The 10% left is for left-handed of course...
  • How have I misquoted her by using her ethics system? I have brought up a few examples where it is in your best interest to initiate violence, or something similar, but, you say, it is wrong because Rand says initiating violence is wrong. If I am misusing her ethics system, please point out the wrong assumption I've made, or the wrong step I took. Don't tell me my conclusion is wrong because Ayn Rand is for/against something

    Axiom: it is wrong to initiate violence.
    Axiom: make decisions that are benefitial to yourself.
    Conclusion: Kill someone for money.

    A contradiction, so obviously one axiom must take presedense over the other, no? I tend to think the former supercedes the latter, but I guess that is a decision for each of us to make.

    Besides assuming them, how do you know intelligence, hard work, and effort are good

    Life is good, an axiom in my personal system. Hence, continutation of life is good. Hence, traits that increase the chances of continuation of life (and make it more enjoyable) are good traits. I live much longer today with science and medicine; I have a more comfortable life if I work hard and put forward good effort in sustaining my means for life. Granted, sharing has its benefits in a base level of survival (if there is limited food resources, it is imperative that sharing exist for all to survive), but when you are beyond the basic necessities of life, placing sharing first is detremental.

    If it doesn't work in the real world, why use it

    Has it not worked in the real world, though? I assume it would not, but have no concrete proof that it wouldn't. (Of course we have plenty of hard, concrete proof to show that communism doesn't work.)

    Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode, "A Streetcar Named Marge?" In it, Maggie (the baby) attends the Ayn Rand School for Tots. Funny stuff...

  • While the AOL-TW deal looks to create a behemoth which may very well dominate huge swaths of the mediaspace, there is also a huge opportunity for failure, which the market is much better at sorting out than a regulatory group.

    First things first - although AOL officially "bought" TW, look to see Gerald Levin soon running the show. AOL has already locked up the ISP business - they really don't need to focus a great deal of attention on that - what they do need to focus on, is the penetration of the TW media properties into the AOL network space to enhance both. Doing this will take a media manager, not a ISP manager. This is where Levin fits in, with Pittman taking over more of the operational issues. Look for Case to become a Jack Welch-like elder stateman of the corporation.

    Anyway, AOL shareholders were, in the past, pretty much assured of 15% growth per anum, and of course that is history now given the huge market cap of the combined company. This will turn away investors. Secondly, many of TW's media properties are failing - CNN is sagging, and most of the other properties have never really "gotten" the web. Thirdly, the whole thing is an entangled mess of fiefdoms, regimes, turfs and egos. The practices and attitudes of these two companies are certainly not alike (although AOL will most likely become "Time-Warnarized" soon enough).

    What I am trying to point out is that there are many reasons why this can fail - it is by no means a sure thing. A behemoth can either be a steamroller or a dinosaur. Let the market decide.

  • > Axiom: it is wrong to initiate violence.
    > Axiom: make decisions that are benefitial to yourself.

    Ok, I didn't realize the no initiation of violence was part of her ethics, my bad.

    > A contradiction, so obviously one axiom must take presedense over the other, no? I tend to think the former supercedes the latter, but I guess that is a decision for each of us to make.

    Personally, I see this as a bad position to be in (having multiple rules that can be in conflict). Objectivism sets up a system where reason rules over everything, and then you are forced to make a decision based on your preferences. I believe the only way egoism could ever work is to make sure that initiating violence is wrong. (I think more restrictions would be better. Either replace the axiom with something that is more restrictive, or add a new axiom. More axioms makes the system more complicated though...)

    > Life is good, an axiom in my personal system.

    Which means your beliefs are different than Objectivism, meaning you can reach different conclusions than Objectivism. If you don't agree with their beliefs, you can't blindly share their conclusions. Maybe forcing people to pay taxes IS right in your system.

    "Life is good" and "Don't initiate violence" seem to cover a lot of the same ground, is there any way you can combine the two into a single assumption?

    > Hence, continutation of life is good. Hence, traits that increase the chances of continuation of life (and make it more enjoyable) are good traits.

    Is this what you had in mind?

    Life is good.
    All things that extend life are good. (There is no reason to believe this. )
    Sometimes hard work extends life. (We have examples that show this.)
    Sometimes hard work is good. (Follows the form of one of Aristotle's syllogisms.)

    [welfare extends life, and you don't believe it is good.]

    I believe that is all you can "conclude" as far as hard work being good, based on life being good. There are cases where hard work does not extend life, like when people with heart conditions work too hard, or when people work hard trying to kill you. (hmmm... if other people are working hard, that makes it more difficult for you to make a profit. isn't it in your best interest for other people not to work hard?)

    If you can extend life without work just as effectively as you can extend life with work, isn't life without work more attractive? (I'm not saying I believe that is the case, but under those conditions, hard work does not bring about good, so it is not good.)

    > Has it not worked in the real world, though? I assume it would not, but have no concrete proof that it wouldn't. (Of course we have plenty of hard, concrete proof to show that communism doesn't work.)

    We do not have hard, concrete proof that communism does not work. No one thinks that the communists states ever achieved a state of pure communism. For all we know, there is a threshold, after which things start to work. You believe the emerald will be green, they believe the emerald will be grue.

    I'm not sure if this next argument works completely, but at least it will bring us closer to the original discussion.

    Are laws against drunk driving wrong?
    Are speed limits wrong?
    Are stop signs wrong?

    Pure Objectivists, I believe, would say yes to all three questions. If I rationally decide to do something, I should not be punished unless something bad happens. As long as there are no accidents, don't force me to follow a law I didn't okay. (When you go to a new city, you did not have a say as to what the speed limit was, or where the stop signs are.)

    I hope you agree with me, that all three things are a necessary evil to make driving a safer venture. When drunk, you cannot reason as well, you should not be trusted to make a rational decision. (I can argue this further, but I hope it is not needed.) I'm not sure how you could go about figuring out speed limits or where to put stop signs in a purely Objectivist society, but even if speed limits and stop signs were left as suggestions, the number of accidents would still increase. if you don't know if the person coming up to the intersection is going to stop or not, you cannot cross into the street. Yes, you have to give up your rights, but, at least in this case, it makes sense to.

    Is obeying the rules of the road that different from paying your taxes?
  • Which means your beliefs are different than Objectivism, meaning you can reach different conclusions than Objectivism. If you don't agree with their beliefs, you can't blindly share their conclusions. Maybe forcing people to pay taxes IS right in your system

    Two points: first, I don't blindly follow Objectivism. It's quite impossible to blindly follow it, since it would be a contradiction of terms (to blindly follow Objectivism would to subscribe to its conclusions on faith; one of Objectivism's conclusions is to have individuals think rationally for themselves and not to believe in things on faith - to have reason to believe what you believe, not just because someone told you it was so... hence the contradiction, the paradox, the irony). Second, forcing people to pay taxes isn't right in my system. I've thought about it, and am repalled by forcing anyone to do anything. I understand what taxes give us, some of it needed, some of it good, some of it bad. I am not against people pooling their money to accomplish larger tasks. I am against people forcing you to give them your money to do what they please with it (or even if they are going to do exactly what you want them to do, it should be given voluntarily).

    welfare extends life, and you don't believe it is good

    By sucking life from others. Life is good - parasites are bad. Animals like fleas have no choice in the matter, humans do.

    I hope you agree with me, that all three things are a necessary evil to make driving a safer venture

    I agree with you, if there are the lives of others who you are risking, then such laws are in order - again, it can be argued that having such laws is in my self-interest. If these are widely accepted laws, then my chances of not being in an auto accident increase. What I am against (and think most Objectivists are) are things like mandatory seat-belt wearing laws. As a rational adult, I can weigh the consequences of wearing and seat belt or not, and should be able to make my own decision.

    Is obeying the rules of the road that different from paying your taxes

    Oh yes. As I said earlier, such laws make it safe for me. Second, the roads are owned by the gov't (which they shouldn't be, but whatcha gonnna do?). So, they have a right to make their own laws on those roads - if you don't want to obey them, don't drive on the roads. If I buy a couple of acres, create a road on my property, I should be (and am able to) drive as fast as I like. I'd have a problem if the gov't came to my land and said, "You have to drive slower on your own stretch of road or you will go to jail."

  • ...they have pledged not to discriminate against competing content providers or Internet services and have signed a memorandum of understanding promising to provide competitors access to Time Warner's cable systems.

    I forget who said "I don't care who does the electin', longs I get to do the nominatin'." Heuy Long, I think.

    Funny that the EU is the only ones at this point says, "HEY, If AOL has the internet, TIME has all the news, Warner has all the movies, books and recording studios, gee, they might use all that news disemination to squelch oposing viewpoints!".

    Duuhhh.

    Everyone knows the great impartial coverage CNN and various newspapers they own gave to the DcCSS story. Sure, filter every bit of news through them! We Love It(tm)!.

  • > Second, forcing people to pay taxes isn't right in my system. I've thought about it, and am repalled by forcing anyone to do anything.

    It is ok to force children to finish their dinner, right? Children don't have the necessary tools to make a rational decision for themselves, so it is ok to force them to do something. So you are not repelled or appalled by forcing anyone to do something. I think I might refer back to this later in my response.

    > > welfare extends life, and you don't believe it is good
    > By sucking life from others. Life is good - parasites are bad. Animals like fleas have no choice in the matter, humans do.

    You are still avoiding the fact that you cannot make that leap of logic. Regardless, where do you get off saying parasites are bad? Is this one of those beliefs that hinges upon the fact that hard work is good and virtuous? If so, I feel obliged to remind you we are in the process of trying to prove that hard work is good and virtuous. Circular logic is the tool of irrational people.

    Life is good.
    All things that extend life are good.

    You are also avoiding the fact that hard work is only good some of the time. Are we to say that violence is a virtue since violence sometimes leads to good?

    Without spending too much time, I was able to find two flaws in your proof that hard work was a virtue. I am not that smart or attentive of a guy, imagine what a really smart person like Ayn Rand could have found wrong in your proof! Either you spent even less time constructing it, or your abilities at arriving at logical conclusions is flawed. If you didn't spend much time constructing the proof, I take that as an insult.

    > I agree with you, if there are the lives of others who you are risking, then such laws are in order - again, it can be argued that having such laws is in my self-interest. If these are widely accepted laws, then my chances of not being in an auto accident increase.

    What exactly does widely accepted entail? 10% of the population is in favor? 30%? 51%? 99%? or 100%? Unless you don't have 100% support, you are FORCING people to follow these rules. Previously, you said you did not believe in forcing anyone to do anything. Good luck getting 100% of any sufficiently large group of people to agree on anything.

    > Second, the roads are owned by the gov't (which they shouldn't be, but whatcha gonnna do?). So, they have a right to make their own laws on those roads - if you don't want to obey them, don't drive on the roads.

    Good point. Very good point. Very good way of attacking my previous point.

    If I own a block of land, do I have a right to decide what happens below or above it. That is to say, do I get to make the rules for airplanes that fly over my land? Can someone dig a tunnel underneath my property without my permission? Can I buy all the land surrounding a city and then make it expensive to leave/enter the city? Can I make it impossible for certain people to enter/leave the city?
  • don't have the necessary tools to make a rational decision for themselves, so it is ok to force them to do something. So you are not repelled or appalled by forcing anyone to do something

    First off, I think you need to work on your quantitative nouns. I think you meant to say: "So you are not repelled or appalled by forcing some people ..." If I am against forcing Bob Smith from doing something, but think everyone else can be forced, then the statement, "I am not appalled by forcing anyone to do something," is false, since I am appalled to force Bob to do something. (You had a similar mixup with these terms earlier, saying anyone when you meant everyone.)

    Second, the entire children thing is a gray area for me. When does a child become an adult? 18? Puberty? Loss of virginity? At the start of his/her first job? Before children become adults they are a unique combination of individual and property - an individual who has rights to life and a piece of property, owned by their parents.

    Regardless, where do you get off saying parasites are bad

    Axiom 1: Life is good.
    Parasites harm life. (Well, I guess the technical definition of a parasite is one that sustains life off another being with giving nothing in return... that's not so bad, but if they harm the individual they are leeching off of (like that little Alien baby in the movie Alien that popped out of that guy's stomach), then that is bad.)
    Therefore, parasites shorten/detriment life. Parasites == bad.

    Now, hard word is good, yes it is. I guess I should more clearily define hard work... I don't mean it by its extreme literal sense. A hard worker is not someone who busts his balls sweeping floors and then comes home and beats his wife. Hard work refers to not just occupation but life in general; hard work is not necessarily back-breaking work, not a synonym for manual labor, but it describes a sense of ambition, of constant effort, of desire. A hard worker is one who enjoys life, who puts a lot of energy into living life, doing a good job, putting pride into his occupation.

    Are we to say that violence is a virtue since violence sometimes leads to good

    How does initiating violence lead to good?

    If I own a block of land, do I have a right to decide what happens below or above it. That is to say, do I get to make the rules for airplanes that fly over my land? Can someone dig a tunnel underneath my property without my permission? Can I buy all the land surrounding a city and then make it expensive to leave/enter the city? Can I make it impossible for certain people to enter/leave the city?

    As far as owning the land above/below, beats me. Should you be able to refuse the gov't the ability to acquire your land? Hell yes. Right now the gov't could decide it wants to build a highway through your backyard and you must sell or have it taken.

    Of course if the gov't can't do this, then things like buying a ring around a city and making it uber-expensive to enter/leave could occur. Of course such actions are going to make your ring around the city worthless quickly. Who wants to live in a town that has a high-prices entery/exit fee? Who wants to build new industry in a town that is virtually held hostage by one? Look at East Berlin, no industrialists flocked there, people risked (and lost) lives attempting to leave.

  • > Axiom 1: Life is good.
    > Parasites harm life. (Well, I guess the technical definition of a parasite is one that sustains life off another being with giving nothing in return... that's not so bad, but if they harm the individual they are leeching off of (like that little Alien baby in the movie Alien that popped out of that guy's stomach), then that is bad.)

    Parasites harm life... Parasites harm A life, while the parasites stay alive. Without having to do any complicated math, I know that parasites lead to more life. Parasites extend life.

    > Therefore, parasites shorten/detriment life. Parasites == bad.

    To use your logic here...
    Life is good.
    Things that extend life are good.
    Parasites extend life. Parasites == good!

    Jumping off a lifeboat to save the lives of the other people shortens/detriments my life. Jumping off the boat == bad.

    > A hard worker is one who enjoys life, who puts a lot of energy into living life, doing a good job, putting pride into his occupation.

    Redefining words is the tool of propaganda.

    Were all the hard workers under Hitler good people?

    > > Are we to say that violence is a virtue since violence sometimes leads to good
    > How does initiating violence lead to good?

    Although I was tempted to say initiating violence, I chose not to. Violence sometimes leads to good, like when responding to violence. There is no doubt, in my mind, that it has led to good. The conclusion of your "proof" said, basically, sometimes hard work leads to good, therefore it is good. Sometimes violence leads to good, therefore violence is good.

    > As far as owning the land above/below, beats me. Should you be able to refuse the gov't the ability to acquire your land? Hell yes. Right now the gov't could decide it wants to build a highway through your backyard and you must sell or have it taken.

    The reason no true democracy has, or will exist (for any period of time) is because it is too inefficient. Educating everyone so they know enough to vote on every little problem is unreasonable. Similarly, the prospect of requiring the government to convince everyone in a roads path to move out is unreasonable. For the sake of efficiency, we give up rights. I wish there was a country you could live in that didn't have all these rules, but I don't see it happening. There are good, valid reasons why it has not happened.

    > Of course if the gov't can't do this, then things like buying a ring around a city and making it uber-expensive to enter/leave could occur.

    If the people don't agree to give me a lot of money, I'll increase the tariff on importing food, or other necessities. Without initiating violence, I can kill millions of people!

    > Of course such actions are going to make your ring around the city worthless quickly. Who wants to live in a town that has a high-prices entery/exit fee? Who wants to build new industry in a town that is virtually held hostage by one?

    If I set the price high enough so that some people can't leave, I can turn those people into slave labor. Don't industries want to have low production costs? It doesn't get much cheaper than slave labor.
  • I still believe that politicians have usually better informations into their hands that their electors

    I can see your point, for the majority of the uninformed masses. However, ironically it is a case of the British public copying the French way at the moment, and extending it so that it is showing that the British politicians really aren't in touch with the feeling of the populous, viz the current British blockades. I suspect that you are finding this amusing, and quite rightly, as I am as well. The politicians are saying that this is pointless it won't work, blah, blah. But because of the panic buying, it is possible that the fuel will run out today, just 24 hours later. My first thought when this started was 'Why didn't this happen before?' Just a thought, but if the European Union could harmonise taxes for this sort of thing, such as petrol, cigarettes, etcetera, it would probably start putting them in a better light in the eyes of the British, so long as it didn't intefere with the quality of public services that we have. If the British government really was in favour of the European Union, then it would find a way to minimise the loss of taxes wouldn't it?

    if some of them in UK are still supporting the Euro

    Unfortunately, it does not work like this. When the conservatives were in power, they supported the Euro, and Labour were against it. Now it's round the other way on both counts. So, you have to ask, why is it only those in power that are supporting the Euro? Is it because there is something in it for them, rather than the country as a whole? Otoh, if there are some of those in the party in power STILL against the Euro, it probably means there are also some strong reasons NOT to do so... :)

    You compared VW, Mercedes and BMW to the likes of Jaguar and Rolls Royce... Not exactly the same market is it? Compare the number of VW/Merc/BMW to Rolls Royce... It's not surprising that they couldn't compete on an equivalent basis and yes Rover: bad, dead, but is this really proof of the success of the countries differing economic policies? If you use a different industry, let's say Telecoms, then Vodafone and Mannesmann are BOTH doing very well, as well as BT and Deusche Telecom. Using manufacturing as the basis is not necessarily the best judge. So saying that the other countries did better might be true in the manufacturing sector, but does it hold for all sections of the corporate market? Would Europe's biggest stock exchange still be in the UK, at the moment at least, if that were true? Well, maybe, it's traditionally so, and it will be interesting to see whether it does join with Frankfurt.

    I think the choice should be offered to UK citizens like this : "Would you rather use the Euros, or the USD ?

    Funnily enough, if you gave the public the choice of Euros or Dollars, it would be no contest: it would be dollars. Maybe that is not such a good question to ask!! The British are just not as anti-American as mainland Europe are. We can deal with the blatent rewritings of history, the arrogance, the loudmouthed patriotism. That's just American.

    I'm still wondering why your fellow countrymen put so much efforts into destroying food.

    You know, so have I. There are some fine restaurants in the UK, but because of the bizarre efforts of the others, we still have the reputation. It's a shame, because just as a bad French waiter continues their bad reputation (wholly justified up until my fifth or six visit to France), it's not true for a good proportion. Ah well, it still always rains in the UK. ;-)

    Jousting is for sissies

    No, it's just the amusant bouche before the sword fight :-).

  • Im from a fart sized EU member state and I see it as the other way around. We get a commision seat, veto power and a voting system which gives small countries an inordinate amount of power out of all proportion or population size, i.e. if Finland Denmark and Ireland vote together they easily outvote Germany despite having a combined population of about an eighth or Germany.

    Most of the small countries have no power anyway, and they are just fooling themselves if they think they have some sort of influence of what happens to them.

    Anyhow Switzerland surely enjoys the stability of living in a Europe which is not concerned with intranational rivalries, and the EFTA thing has surely benefited them, so you could consider them as taking the benefits of an EU but not helping one whit, and then smugly wandering about the place preening themselves on their independance and self reliance. Its all in how you look at it.

    Anyhow Austria isn't a large state.

  • Like communism/socialism, your style of government is flawed since the government itself depends on the generosity of the people who can give.

    I am not sure if you are familiar with Rawls's "veil of ignorance" ... The basic idea is, you design a social institution, then from behind the veil of ignorance (where you know the rules of life and this society, but you don't know anything about yourself that might give an insight as to where you would work in this society) you can rationally compare this new institution with what is already in place. Obviously, you don't want to live in a society where one person is a lord, and everyone else is a serf, since the likelyhood of you being a serf is so high (even if being the lord is that much better, it's just not worth it).

    Using the veil of ignorance, we can compare societies where capitalism runs free, and where it is tempered. While on one hand the prospect of not having to pay taxes is nice, the idea of being born into a family that can barely put food on the table is pretty bad. Depending on how much faith you have in capitalism, makes a big difference as to what your preference is. If we disagree, its not because one of us is wrong, but because we are working from different, most likely valid, assumptions.

    You may not agree with this, but I believe that completely free markets build skyscrapers in the plains, when we want rolling hills and mountains. That is to say, we get a few really, really rich people up in the skyscrapers, while everyone else is down at or below sea-level. We want a middle class. We want people at all sorts of economic levels. Most importantly though, we want everyone above sea-level. If completely free markets give us the skyscrapers, and tempered capitalism keeps everyone above sea-level, tempered capitalism wins every time. Conceding one's right to decide where his/her money goes for the betterment of society is reasonable and rational, to an extent. (of course, this is a slippery slope. I have no idea where to draw the line. As long as there is competition, and reason to improve ones financial position, we should be ok.) (I could go into more depth as to why I believe capitalism is flawed, but this is too long as is.)

    Yes, socialism does not work, and no we don't want it. Given the choice between straight capitalism and straight socialism, capitalism wins everytime. But if you can improve capitalism by mixing in some socialism, everyone wins.

    You can't count on someone being generous, giving his/her money to the poor, while he/she is busy trying to make as much money as possible. The rules of capitalism say, the one with the most money wins. If being nice doesn't help a corporation win, it won't be nice.

    With regard to John Stossel, correlation does not imply causation. I, personally, think it is dubious to say these think tanks have concluded that these countries are great because of free markets, when those think tanks are pro-free market to begin with. Also, as far as I can tell from both provided links, Stossel is not in favor of eliminating mandatory taxes. Even with the findings of the think tanks, one can not reasonably conclude that less regulations will necessarily improve matters. At a time when the U.S. economy is at an all time high, it is easy to say it is because America is the home of the free, but if 5-10 years down the line, when the economy isn't so hot, what if America is still the "free'est" country, but not the greatest?

    You should be able to smoke marijuana if you choose. The war on drugs is complete idiocy. I cannot imagine a rational argument that is in favor of spending billions and billions of dollars in an effort to effect a small amount of good. And anyways, marijuana is safer, cleaner, and more pleasant than alcohol. Unfortunately, the war on drugs makes for good press, and it will be a long time before someone who is pro-drugs gets elected.
  • A few minor deals of little consequence. In the US, WCOM and FON were two of the three major LD carriers, so there were major concerns for US regulators. Of bigger note is the mergers that the EU did NOT block or impede, such as Vodafone/Mannesman and the Elf Aquitaine deal that consolidated oil companies in France. Shit, every newspaper in Europe was talking about how the French wanted a domestic oil champion, so it's not like I'm the only one saying this.

    The EU has a perfect case before them now that we can contrast with AOL/TWX. That is the proposed deal between Seagream, Vivendi and Canal Plus that is aimed at creating the AOL Time Warner of Europe [yahoo.com]. Let's see what happens between the two deals. Vivendi and Canal Plus are both far bigger in Europe than AOL or Time Warner.

  • <OFFTOPIC>
    Let me assume you're British...

    Allow me to disagree with you on this one.

    The UK has too strong a currency and it's strengthening even more. You may think that the pound is not as strong because the living standards are quite low there. However...

    That the British standards of living are way too low (I've lived 2 years there and I've talked to loads of British people about that, I *know* that) compared to the rest of Europe is the *people's* fault, but let's not get into that now.

    Anyway...

    </OFFTOPIC>

    As for the AOL+TW merger, well, it seems that they either failed to bribe the EU commission properly or the EU commission has more senses than the US equivalent (more likely, "knowing" both of them).

    Trian
  • Sorry I don't buy that the boycott is the fear that keeps corps in line. Its the fear of lawsuits from consumers or government action (expecially with the environment), which are based on *gasp* laws. Savvy consumers? Nope, savvy lawmakers and lawyers.
  • Yes, big business is fleeing to the American continent from the European continent where they don't have to deal with the devalued Euro, costing them more for every raw material they buy.

    UK Industry has been in decline for the past fifty years, and the fact that so many American and Far Eastern companies have invested in the UK instead of on the European continent because of the unwillingness of the UK to join the Euro pretty much proves the point of not joining.

    In other words, the UK government are going to have to come up with a pretty good lie to dupe the common man into believing that it is a Good Thing(TM) and a better one than the one that fooled us into joining the 'Common Market'.

  • I dunno on which alternate dimension you live, but business are certainly not leaving Europe for the American continent. Or were you talking of factories delocalised in Mexico ? Because last time I checked, most Japanese car manufacturer were building or moving their plants from UK to countries part of the Euro... and those who don't end up like Rover.

    As for moving from Euro zone to US, you got everything wrong : salaries and materials cost higher in US than in the Euro zone, precisely because the Euro is cheaper than the USD. What would you prefer : pay someone 50000 USD/year or 50000 Euros/year ?

    I wish UK would have never been accepted in the UE : they always whine about everything, put their veto to everything and keep kissing the US ass (Echelon, the trade negocitiations, etc...). If the UK wants to remain an island isolated from the world, all the better !
  • And its big ugly trolls
  • In an ideal world, what you're saying is right. But you're assuming that 99% of the population are aware of the issues, care, or have the common sense to notice what's going on. I never cease to be amazed at some of my co-workers who believe what they read in the tabloid newspapers. If large media corporations can spin their version of events, then Joe and Jane Average are never going to know what's really happening.

    While it would be good to bring about change by boycotting, how many of us would it take to make an impact? I'd guess it's bigger than the Slashdot community... When corporations have more money than some countries, they can afford to lose your custom if it means they can push their point of view.

    In the future, I think we have more to fear from corporations than we do government. At the moment, governments are being put under pressure from powerful lobby groups (how else would the DMCA come into being?). Not that I trust government either, but at least they are held accountable every five years or so.
  • All right! Time to crisp up definitions

    ...and Democracy: (1) The system by which the populations of the member countries of the EU elect the governments which some people choose to describe as "socialistic". (2) The holy grail of the US constitution.

    corollary: even Semi-coherent logic doesn't allow an American to claim that 'Democracy' is better then the 'socialistic' systems of Europe.

    TomV

  • I'm just amazed it took this long for any athority, EU or American to say this.

    For crying out loud. They want to take a company that controls what 50 Million Americans see and think the internet is and combine it with a company that controls a singificant chuck of the broadband network, CNN, More Movie content that I would ever know what to do with, Music empire, etc.

    Someone say 'New More Powerful Microsoft'.

    Screw that

  • For those who can't reason. VAResearch provides absolutely nothing that is necissary. Has no owership of any product that is in the majority (I think Ziff Davis' Linux books are higher revenue and there are more of them than VA's web site.s

    Aol is providing a service where ,in some markets, is a necissary product. It is definitely all the rage here in the US and some beleive it will replace TV.

    Time Warner provides so many media services, that I pretty much guarantee you read or listen to thier products every week.

  • Well Duh!
  • If those American companies want to trade in the EU then the EU does have a say in what they can and can't do. If they don't like it, then they can just stop trading in the EU - simple.

    --

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If our government wasn't run by big business our government would say the same thing.

    The merger should clearly be stopped.
  • Who are they to say what two American companies can do?

    This is rich coming from a resident (I'll assume) of a country that tries to legislate its way of doing things the world over. The imperialist behaviour of the US will come back to haunt it in the decades to come. The military-industrial complex will fail, it's only a matter of time. And the euros and asians will have a big say in it.

    Hopefully we'll all be dead before the shit hits the fan, or not.

  • Who the fuck mod'd this as Funny. Brainless twit posts moronic screed about how the 'mercans have saved everyone's ass in the past century (neglecting to mention that those same have been responsible for equal amounts of human suffering, cf., Iran-Contra, Vietnam, HUAC, Korea, CIA drug inner-city drug dealing ...) and displays his complete lack of understanding of recent history. Perhaps it is funny, if being afraid is one's idea of funny.

    I could understand if it were mod'd as 'Illiterate moron'.

  • I dunno on which alternate dimension you live, but business are certainly not leaving Europe for the American continent

    Unfortunately they are. Reports on CNN, TV5 and BBC this week point to companies moving from Germany (the strongest economy in Europe) to the States because they cannot compete with the prices of raw materials being caused by the weak Euro. Unfortunately it was on TV, and thus I cannot provide a link, so I cannot provide the evidence to back this up despite a quick search on Google.

    most Japanese car manufacturer were building or moving their plants from UK to countries part of the Euro...

    Most? Evidence please? I think perhaps you are confusing Ford moving manufacturing of the Fiesta to Cologne from Dagenham, and from this page [the-times.co.uk], this quote sums that up:

    Bill Morris, the Transport and General Workers' leader, is almost certainly right to maintain that it is much easier and cheaper to sack workers in Britain than in Germany and that this is a major factor behind Ford's apparent decision to shift output to Cologne.
    From this report [guardianunlimited.co.uk] it seems that even though Toyota want to deal in Euros for some of their UK suppliers, they are still increasing production in the UK. As for Rover, how is that Japanese? If I recall, BMW bought that to get hold of the technology to build it's own version of the Range Rover, not caring whether it actually survived or not and once it had the information, discarded it. Now that is the British government's fault, but I cannot see how that is relevant to what we are talking about. The Motor Manufacturing Inudstry is being hit globally, but just to help them along, there is directives like this one being made by the European Union. [autoindustry.co.uk] Is that helping anyone in Europe?

    What would you prefer : pay someone 50000 USD/year or 50000 Euros/year ?

    It doesn't work like that. If the cost of living in Europe is higher, which it is, it means you pay them accordingly. You don't just set an arbritary figure and then add a $ or on the end of it. If a barrel cost $30 and the Euro slumps, it means that whereas it used to cost 30 it now costs 35. So the fact that the oil has risen as well is only part of the reason for the current blockades.

    kissing the US ass

    I hope this isn't just jealousy because the UK overtook France as the second biggest economy in Europe this year having not joined the Eurozone and although Echelon was not just the UK and America as you seem to imply, France wasn't included...? You should be grateful as you got your own Echelon system whereas we had to share with Australia, New Zealand... :-(

    If the UK wants to remain an island isolated from the world

    remain (r-mn)
    v. intr. remained, remaining, remains.
    To continue in the same state or condition: These matters remain in doubt.

    For us to 'remain' it is dependant on us already being isolated, and we aren't really as we are kissing up to the US ass and moaning all the time about the EU, as well as being the head of the Commonwealth? When Norway voted against becoming part of the EU, did you notice how isolated they became('remained'), and the country's GDP rose in the following year?

    I am with you on the last point: I wish we never had joined, as do most (69% at the last poll) of the people in the UK. We moan for good reason. For an example of this and on how certain people want Europe to work try checking here [bbc.co.uk]. He implies that he only thought the German people had a right to decide on whether more countries should joing the EU..

    PS Maybe we should be working together on this, as we both seem to want the same thing: the UK out of Europe! :-)

  • If you do not wish to pay the higher prices, do not buy their product. It is their right to fix prices. It is certainly not the business of the public to mess with the affairs of private businesses. A new company may enter the arena at any time and choose to gain marketshare by selling the same product for a lot less; it's the risk that the price-fixers take.

    I haven't bought a CD in over a year. I refuse to pay the insanely high fees the RIAA docks from artists' paychecks. So I use other methods to get the music I want, and I use other methods to reimburse the artists.

    In short, grow up. Don't be a looter.
  • This is rather OT, but let me tell you the Germans ARE your allies. Can you say "NATO" ?
  • The disagreement was whether Europe has become less or more socialistic--

    That's one perception, but not the one this reader got.

    And we're certainly a lot less socialistic than Willy Brandt, Clement Attlee, Francois Mitterand. The monetarist '80's blew most of the post-war consensus away. And it's highly debatable whether that was a good thing.

    And I can't see anything in my post concerning the relative merits of European and US society. Simply a suggestion that if the people of Europe should respect the democratic choices of the American people (which they should), then the obverse applies too. We don't have 'socialistic governments' because they are imposed on us against our will, we have them because majorities in most European countries have voted for parties and policies which are, in comparison to the current norms of US society, relatively socialistic.

    I detect an inferiority complex

    Odd comment. Based on no evidence in the post, probably intended to be inflammatory, but misses at point blank range due to the fact that I, for one, am extremely proud to live in a society which has a welfare state, in which certain minimum standards of living are guaranteed for all, in which, on short, the idea that we are each responsible for each other's well-being and can never thrive whilst stamping on the heads of others is taken as a given.

    Incidentally, is the 'socialistic' Europe the same one where the monarchies all supposedly still have absolute power, or was that a different fantasy Europe?

    TomV

  • Roughly [socialism is] the collective or governmental ownership and administration of a nations resources and means of production.
    No. That's communism. And that's not what we're discussing. Evidently nobody suggested that the European Union should nationalize AOL and/or Time Warner. That would be both stupid and impossible; and that would be communism. We're discussing forbidding the merger: this is about socialism. It's about protecting the consumer and the worker from excessive corporate power.

    Evidently the governments of Western Europe are not communist. But there is not the shadow of a doubt that Tony Blair is more socialist than Margaret Thatcher (or even John Major); that Gerhard Schröder is more socialist than Helmut Kohl; that Lionel Jospin is more socialist than Alain Juppé; and that Romano Prodi (or even Massimo Dalema) is more socialist than Silvio Berlusconi. I'm not saying that there's a definite trend here: the goverments of Spain and Austria are definitely right-wing. But I definitely fail to see a trend of "replacing this dangerous socialism by sane libertarianism" in Europe.

  • That thing was an eyesore. Can you imagine some nerd driving that thing done the street?? Was that Cmdr Taco's idea? If not, I wonder how it feels for OSDN/Andover to use your creation (Slashdot) on such a beast as the PT (Barnum) Cruiser.


  • We want a middle class. We want people at all sorts of economic levels

    Capitalism give you this - no other economic policy does. How do you think a middle class formed, from hand outs from the government (socialism/communism)? Hardly. Capitalism does not create the gulf between the rich and the poor, communism does that. Communism and socialism are forms of slavery - the hard working, ambitious individuals are forced to toil and give up their earned income to pay for those who don't feel like working. Capitalism offers anyone the opportunity to become something great; all it takes is drive and desire.

    Conceding one's right to decide where his/her money goes for the betterment of society is reasonable and rational, to an extent. (of course, this is a slippery slope. I have no idea where to draw the line. As long as there is competition, and reason to improve ones financial position, we should be ok)

    This is a very slippery slope. As more and more people become dependent on the hard work of others, more will be stolen, forcibly taken, from those who work hard. Read Atlas Shrugged - while it suffers from black and white and strawman fallacies every now and then, it is an entertaining read and gets across several important points.

    But if you can improve capitalism by mixing in some socialism, everyone wins.

    No, the only people who win are those who wish to steal from those who are ambitious. Those people, like myself, who work hard are forced (forced!) to give our hard earned money (our money, not anyone elses) to a mass of people who don't deserve it.

    You can't count on someone being generous, giving his/her money to the poor

    A lot of people will say this, that we need things like welfare because people won't contribute to charity if they're not forced to. Our country opperated just fine without a welfare program for the majority of its history. Why all of the sudden do we need a welfare program now? Assume that the government decided that everyone needed to own a pair of shoes, so they made a program that would take money from those that had it to buy shoes for everyone (a program enacted in Soviet Russia at one time). After this program was in action for a while, if the government tried to stop it people would decry, "But we need our shoes, if the government doesn't give us our shoes, how are we going to be able to have shoes?" Look at America, where shoes aren't given: there are tons of shoe companies, tens of thousands of jobs created because of it, healthy competition, and everyone has shoes. It's like the chicken and the egg delimma...

    Unfortunately, the war on drugs makes for good press, and it will be a long time before someone who is pro-drugs gets elected.

    I hope we don't ever elect a "pro-drug" leader... rather a "pro-choice" leader, one who values the minds and intellects of his/her constituents and realizes that on their own they can make rational decisions and they don't need the government telling them what they can and cannot do (a slight step away from the government telling us what we can and cannot think).

  • France is a classic example. The government has their hand in numerous large enterprises, which the taxpayers are propping up. Look at the high ranking officials in government and business - they're typically the same people moving back and forth.

    Europe's "third way" is a mess - the euro is in the tank...only reinforcing the American model. The Brits were right to stay out of the EU - what a disaster.

  • the company was later sued ; this was difficult because they carefully chose people ; in a pure libertarian setting, it won't get sued, and could just get away with this

    Why couldn't the company get sued in a libertarian setting? The courts would not be abolished by any stretch of the imagination. People's attitude today is, "If a company commits fraud, send the government after them," when it should be, "If a company commits fraud, start the civil suits." (Well, I guess a lot of civil suits are happening as it is.) Since companies care about money as the bottom line, getting sued by thousands or millions of consumers is not their idea of a good time.

    The problem is that you have to duplicate all the government organisations.

    Why would all these government bodies need to be formed? Who needs to EPA? Who needs the FBI? Who needs the IRS? Who needs the FCC? Who needs the FDA? Who needs the CIA?

    And then, because they are not democratic, you are guaranted to have people trying to influence them

    Ha! What do you think we have happening today? Special interest groups send lobbiers to Congress to waive fat checks in their face so they'll vote for whatever bills these special interests want them to! If that's not "people trying to influence" these government organizations, I don't know what is!

    Governement just enforces the rules the society want

    In a purely democratic government, perhaps, but in a republic, not so. Once we elect our representatives, they are free to make whatever choices they want on bills. So, while our opinions may sway them to vote one way or another, it is not a direct cause and effect between society's wills and the laws of the land.

    If the society decides that 1/3 of the income must go to state and get used for free services and redistributed, then let it be

    I don't think anyone consciously has decided this. Rather, it comes from long line of moochers, of looters, asking, "Where's my handout?" As more and more people demand their handouts, the more money is needed to be taken from hard working individuals.

  • I will make this short and sweet.

    I don't believe that collective decisions should ever be made. I would never want to make a decision that would effect scores of others (when they can make their own decision on the matter) and don't expect people to be making decisions for me. TimeWarner/AOL... why shouldn't they merge, if we were living in a free market there wouldn't be any discussion on this. It would have happened by now. Those who were opposed would stop funnelling their dollars to the company, and, if enough people did that, they'd either break-up or make changes.

  • Before I read that list of companies, I thought I _was_ boycotting Time-Warner. It's a good thing people don't read too much into my buying decisions since I don't put much thought into them.
    Boy... boycotting Rupert Murdoch, Disney and Time-Warner sure is boring.
  • are yo realy *that* ...hmm ... ignorant?
    I forgot, you are right, we are all socialst farmers in Europe and don't know what electricity is.
    We look up to the grand USA the light over our skies, they are our salvation -- please come and save us!

    I think this was news for nerds and not news for idiots.

    yours *sincerely* TheSegfault
    ------------------------------------------------ -------
  • A little change in wording makes the problem quite clear.
  • The EU is trying to protect its own failing businesses. Good old fashioned protectionism is alive in well in Europe. I suppose that's why they lag behind the U.S. in every economic market.
  • Both AOL and TW do business in Europe and own subsidiaries there (such as AOL UK and TW's cable properties on the continent). It doesn't take much to give the EU competition authorities jurisdiction. AOL and TW would have to cease doing business in the EU to avoid this, which is obviously too high a price to pay
  • Indeed, looking at the bottom of the /. page does indeed reveal the following message:

    "All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2000 OSDN [osdn.com]."

    Following that ISDN link at the end of the message, the OSDN site contains this message:

    "Copyright [osdn.com] ©1999-2000 VA Linux Systems, Inc. All rights reserved."

    and following that link in that notice, we see links to other sites:
    Network Gallery
    Discussion
    Geocrawler
    Linux.Com
    NewsForge
    Open 'The Magazine'
    Slashdot

    So Rob, how does it feel to be just another cog in the wheel ?

  • Free markets have existed for centuries, and yet the middle class (as we know it) has only existed for the past 50 years or so. The middle class may only exist in capitalism, but I don't think completely free markets actively create the middle class. I believe the restrictions the government have placed on the markets has been instrumental in the growth of the middle class.
    ...
    If you are so deadset against welfare, are you willing to take the next logical step and be against public schools? Its another example of the tax dollars of everyone benefitting those that aren't so well off. Granted, public schools could very well be better with some competition, but the burden for paying for school shold not rest squarely on the parents. Everyone should be able to go to school, regardless of whether they can afford it or not. I doubt my parents would have been able to afford paying for school for me or my siblings, with or without the resulting tax-break. Even if you see being forced to pay for public schools as being wrong, you must admit that public schools have to be available to everyone. It really would be a pity if the upper/middle classes shrugged, capitalism itself wouldn't work.

    Capitalism does not offer _anyone_ the chance to become something great. It takes more than drive and desire, like talent, money, ability to make it to market, luck. Is it fair that the kind of family you are born into is basically the deciding factor on whether you can or can not be great? To say that all you need is drive and desire means you believe that everyone has the same opportunities, which is not true, not here or anywhere. Unhindered capitalism is definitely not egalitarian.

    It takes money to make money. Without money, you cannot invest wisely, you cannot produce your product, and you cannot get a job (only slight exaggeration). If you get rid of public schools, I really think it would be impossible for the working class to break into the middle class. There are not too many jobs left for people who cannot read. The fact that the government has the power to give people who have no money the ability to make money is a good thing.
    ...
    America wasn't always the greatest place in the world to live. I know it wasn't before 1850, and I doubt it was before 1900. America, the greatest country in the world, wasn't America until after World War II. After FDR was done breaking capitalism and ruining our beautiful country.

    Is it fair that the government can take your money by force? It must be, since "everyone" in the civilized world is ok with it. If it wasn't fair, surely a group of similar thinking people would work to make their own country where the government doesn't demand money of its people. By continuing to live in a country that forcibly taxes its people, you are endorsing those laws. Socrates couldn't leave with Crito because to do so, he would be betraying his agreement with the laws. By living in Athens, Socrates endorsed and therefore agreed with the laws. So he drank the hemlock.

    Regarding Atlas Shrugged, I'll have to check the publisher and my list of boycotts before I can read it. (I hear Ayn Rand protested the release of Citizen Kane, I may not be able to support such poor ethical behaviour) It really is hard spending money correctly.
  • In a capitalist economy, we have something more powerful than government: our dollars.

    Until, of course, the only brand for sale is that of a solitary, large company.

    Remember, in this democratic capitalist state of ours, monopolies are not de facto illegal.

    Why do people think they need to government to protect them from companies?

    Sean Kennedy made a great statement last night. He pointed out that governments are created to protect the weak from the abuses of the powerful. Such is the implication of "all men are created equal" that therefore all men (people) are to be afforded the same protections, as needed. You mention liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    For those like us who live in the vocational spotlight, where our skills, mental capacities, and other qualities are in demand, such that we draw noteworthy salaries, the power of the dollar can be effective, assuming that enough can agree to use their dollar in a similar way such that a company cares to recover their business by changing their practices.

    But this ignores those who dont have many dollars, and may in fact not have enough dollars among themselves that their discretion in using them makes a difference to the company. And its those people who need most the protections from the companies who would benefit from infringing their rights.

    I've no faith in the free market; it is nearly as idealistic an ideal as a communist state in the sense that its supporters imagine, if it is carried out "correctly", there is no corruption and all mankind benefits. But in practice, free markets lead to social darwinism, working class repression, manufactural irresponsibility, and other sorts of conditions that lead to Marxen and Engeli.

    --
  • Free markets have existed for centuries

    I am no economics major, but my understanding is that free markets are, relatively speaking, a very new thing, borne around the time of the industrial revolution. Without capitalism there has been slavery (serfdom, communism, etc.). I guess capitalism is older than socialism/communism, though.

    If you are so deadset against welfare, are you willing to take the next logical step and be against public schools

    Yes, schools should be privatized. People would get a more affordable education; teachers would get paid more than peanuts; those students that were interested would actually learn stuff as opposed to endure hours of "study hall" and "homeroom."

    the burden for paying for school shold not rest squarely on the parents

    Why not? Public schools were not always around in this country, people seemed to live and do well enough when they were privatized.

    Capitalism does not offer _anyone_ the chance to become something great

    First off, I think you mean everyone instead of anyone, because - as is - I can refute your argument by simply pointing to a single case of the self-made man, of which there are millions. Second, I never said capitalism was there to make everyone great. Does socialism? Communism? How great is the man who must subsist on handouts from others? Capitalism takes advantage of man's innate selfishness, his desire to see himself do well. If I were to ask you, "Would you rather work for your income (whatever it is now), or would you rather have someone steal the money from another and give it to you?" Hopefully you would say you would rather earn it. People who answer this way benefit from capitalism; those who would rather have their income stolen from others, those who would rather live off of handouts, those beggars and looters, enjoy socialism and communism.

    To say that all you need is drive and desire means you believe that everyone has the same opportunities, which is not true, not here or anywhere

    Not everyone can be multibillion dollar tycoons. Everyone can work hard, put in 110% and make something of themselves. There are millions of immigrants who've come to this country, worked shit jobs, but worked them hard, providing for their family, educating their youth, and making a better future for their posterity. They could not to this in a communist economy; rather, to better their family they would need to produce more babies, become chronically ill, or find someother way to leech off of others.

    America wasn't always the greatest place in the world to live. I know it wasn't before 1850, and I doubt it was before 1900

    What brings you to this conclusion? I don't know what the numbers are, but I'd assume that America had more immigrants in the ninteenth century than any other country. Were people flocking over here because America wasn't great?

    America, the greatest country in the world, wasn't America until after World War II. After FDR was done breaking capitalism and ruining our beautiful country

    America was such a superpower then because all of the other superpowers were devestated by war. It had nothing to do with FDR's social policies, it had to do with the death and destruction caused by the Axis powers. Before WWII, Britain had the world's largest colonial presence, was the world's greatest superpower. Why are they no longer? Was it because FDR enacted social security and Churchill did not? Hell no, it was because Hitler launched thousands of V2 rockets at Britain, Japan claimed Britain's colonies in Asia, Hitler took many of Britain's colonies in Northern Africa, the Jews were given Isreal after the war, etc. We were a "great" nation after the war because all of the other "great" nations had been devestated.

    Is it fair that the government can take your money by force? It must be, since "everyone" in the civilized world is ok with it

    Dear God, I wish this argument was valid! "But Miss Teenybopper, everyone's having sex, so you should too..." Clearly not everyone endoreses this view, surely I am an element of the set of everyone, and I do not endorse it.

    If it wasn't fair, surely a group of similar thinking people would work to make their own country where the government doesn't demand money of its people

    It would have happened, I am certain, if other nations weren't so belligerent. It's hard to have a sizable armed force when taking only voluntary contributions in lieu of taxes. Prior to WWII, another nation would have taken it forcibly. The closest nation to what I describe is America, and people have been flocking here for generations. Also, the argument that, "No one else has done it, hence it must not be right," is hogwash and you know it.

    continuing to live in a country that forcibly taxes its people, you are endorsing those laws

    And what nation am I to go where they do not collect taxes?

    Regarding Atlas Shrugged, I'll have to check the publisher and my list of boycotts before I can read it. It really is hard spending money correctly.

    Go to the public library and pick up a copy for free. Something that was paid for with money that was forcibly taken from you, so enjoy the end product of the government's theft (the library).

  • Time Warner is ubiquitous in every country in Europe. Just go to a cd-store or a video rental. AOL also encompasses CompuServe: in some countries (Netherlands) they operate as CompuServe, in others (Germany) as AOL, but they're definitely there.

    Whether or not they are successful I don't know, because more and more European ISP's are starting to offer "free" Internet access (meaning you don't pay them for your connection, you only pay your telephone bill, they get a percentage of the amount of telephone traffic you generate).

  • You'd think when you are competing against a product that is FREE your product would have to be considerably better

    I don't have the numbers, so this is assumption, but do you think this statement is false? "The average test scores for SATs, ACTs, and other standardized tests are higher at private schools than at public schools." Also, I'd assume this to be true: "The number of shootings per capita has been significantly lower at private schools than at public schools." I call that beating the competition hands down.

    Those that cannot afford an education no longer have their rights to liberty or happiness

    So for the years where public education wasn't available in this nation, people were being denied their Constitutional rights? Those that cannot afford an education work for it. Why are you against the notion of actually working hard for something you want, as opposed to expecting a handout?

    Expecting people to have enough foresight to know how to get out of their rut, is expecting quite a bit

    I believe every person has the ability to reason and form rational decisions. If one wishes to exercise this, they will find a way "out of the rut." If they wish to lounge around, looking forlorne, and asking for what others have, I say let them stay in their rut.

    As far as reading Atlas Shrugged, I think you need to stop with this silly rhetoric and read it. Don't be afraid to think new thoughts, to challenge your existing beliefs, and to - most importantly - learn something new.

    Rand argues that one reason man feels the need to help the moochers is due to:

    • - man is chastised as a child for his intelligence (made fun of for doing well in school or whatnot)

    • - man questions why he is being insulted for a virtue
      - to appease his tormenters, man seeks their acceptance
      - man then rationalizes that these tormenters are of a lower mental stock and that there are many others like them
      - when deciding to encourage socialism/communism, man does so because he subconsciously fears this "mental lower class" and wants to appease them

    I don't think that such a "mental lower class" exists, rather it's all misperception on the part of the individual. Before I end this post, let me leave you with a thought: ask yourself this question rationally: "Does anyone have the right to forcibly take your hard earned income and do with it what they please?" You surely would be upset if a thief robbed you and used your money to feed his family. You'd wonder why can't that robber work himself, why must he resort to theft as an ends to a means? However you don't feel the same way when the government takes (robs) your money and does the same thing with it?

  • Uhm... actually, the US has a *lot* of legislature that prevents the formation of monopolies, or which at least enables the government to take action against monopolization should it occur. In comparison, Europe is riddled with semi-legitimate cartels, and only recently has the EU started to act against this. The EU anti-cartel office dates back from a decade or so, and the Dutch equivalent is only two or three years old. I'm guessing that the reason for this is because the US government had to deal with Standard Oil (if it was Standard Oil, I'm Dutch so my US history is a bit weak) a hundred years ago.

    By the way, in the one economics class I took in my life, the professor said that in *true* laissez-faire capitalism, companies are *out* to get a monopoly, because it's the most efficient way to maximize profits, and hence we need a government to ensure a truly free market. Makes sense to me.

    This AOL/Warner merger is ridiculous. I don't understand why the US gov't is taking on Microsoft during a time when its stranglehold on computing is actually going to get *less* due to the advent of Internet Appliances and Linux and they're leaving a merger between Time Warner (the biggest content provider worldwide) and AOL (the most popular way to get to your online content) more or less alone.

  • The September issue of Wired [wired.com] magazine has an interesting article on the merger. It describes how Time Warner itself isn't a very successfull merger: infighting among its constituents (Time, Warner and that Turner thing). The article explains a number of the issues you raise in greater detail.

  • I have "Atlas Shrugged" in English, but the display of selfishness at the beginning, make it hard to swallow (a bit like communist propaganda). Can you sum up the morale ? "If you try hard, you'll success ?" ignoring that half of the people try hard and still fail?

    The morale is quite simple: selfishness is good. Man, himself, is a means to an end. The morale is that people have rights to life, libery, and pursuit of happiness/property. The morale is that people who take from you, who force you to give what is rightfully yours, are thieves and are evil.

    It doesn't surprise me that there's no French translation of Atlas Shrugged. The French have formed an interesting culture, one in which they've given up many of their rights. Correct me if I am wrong, but it's illegal to purchase Nazi items in France.

    To quote John Stossel's article [go.com]:

    "As French expatriate businesswoman Martine Kempf tells Stossel: 'I designed and built a voice-recognition system to help disabled people control electric functions in cars,' but French red tape made distribution of the product impossible. A move to Silicon Valley changed all that, and within in a year Kempf was distributing her voice-activated cars in nine countries.

    Her hometown back in France is so proud, 'they named a street after me, Rue Martine Kempf,' she says. 'But I still don't want to go back.'

    France's loss is America's gain, a pattern repeated every time people flee a stifling environment for a more open one."

  • People aren't poor because they aren't working hard

    First of all, not everyone has to be the same. There will always be various classes, which is good. I spend my highschool years in a poor, rural town where there was a lot of poverty. I've seen both determined kids my age, who worked a job after school and saved up enough money to go to college; there were kids who didn't go to college and decided to stick around and work at pretty crappy jobs, but they still supported themselves; and, finally, there were kids who decided to get pregnant or subsist on welfare after school. The choice was their's, and I don't think I should have to pay for their ineptitude or laziness or baby-making ability. While they may not have had the money or aptitude to go to college, they could have easily gotten work and remained self-sufficient, saving up, taking classes at the community college at night, etc. THEY CHOSE NOT TO. It wasn't some clamaity forced upon them, they weren't damned by the fates, they simply made a rational decision to live off of the hand outs of others. It's that simple.

    I've subscribed to the social contract theory as well, but I've only given up a small set of rights, ones that protect my life, libery, and persuit of happiness/property.

    I do believe that the money I am parting with is going to the right place too

    Ah, like the hundreds of millions of dollars Clinton has used this term to travel? Like the $27 million dollars that went to pay for the Republican/Democratic conventions? Like the tax cuts that Congressmen have passed for those who purchase a yacht exceeding 50 feet? Yes, your money is going into the right places, right into the pockets of those who took the money from you in the first place!

  • Please have a look to the earlier post that had a link to all the companies that Time-Warner/AOL control, to see how many things would you have to boycott.
    While this "freedom of choice in the market" thing sounds neat on paper, in the real world it's often difficult to exercise said freedom, since people will often have access to just one or two choices that are practical for them (example off the rtop of my head: driving 100Km. to find the next video rental store because the only one in your town is Blockbusters, which BTW, also happens to be owned by another Big Corporation).

  • I don't know why I'm bothering to answer such an obvious troll, but...:
    The EU hasn't objected so far to Time-Warner operating in Europe. The EU hasn't objected to AOL operating in Europe. The EU has a problem with BOTH companies merging and operating as a single entity in Europe.
    I know this is an analogy that perhaps shouldn't even be mentioned in Slashdot, but if Microsoft decided to buy, say, Compaq, would anyone here object to a government (american or european) blocking it?
  • ...how often we will see the word "socialist" written in the comments of this discussion.

    Slashdotters have a very peculiar vision of History: it seems they believe that after the fall of the Berlin[*] wall every European country became socialist.

    They also for the most part believe that this is none of the European Union's affairs.

    So we're going to see a looot of posts along the lines of:

    Hopefully Time Warner and AOL will tell these socialist European governments to fuck off. They're in America, so they don't care what European socialists can say. Hey, that's what capitalism is all about. We don't need governments to interfere.

    (Plus insert perhaps a bit about guns, just to make the point.)

    Will those who are about to post something of similar content please reconsider? Do you truly believe the European Commission to be so stupid not to have noticed that AOL stands for "America" On Line?

    --
    [*]Actually, I suspect many would be unable to place Berlin on a map of Europe; they'd probably place it where Prag is. But that is irrelevant.

  • Please have a look to the earlier post that had a link to all the companies that Time-Warner/AOL control

    I had already read that list before posting, it does not change my mind. Perhaps if TimeWarner produced something that was essential, such as food, or electricity, I could see the need for government to intervene. But a boycott on watching movies? A boycott on reading certain magazines, on watching certain TV channels? This will not lead to death or sufferring. I feel quite sorry for those who need the government to step in and regulate a company because they're worried that their selection and prices at the video store will be pushed too high. Good God man, get a hold of yourself and don't rent any videos made by TimeWarner. We, as consumers, should be the ones to decide whether or not TimeWarner/AOL will survive, not the government.

  • by Captain Pillbug ( 12523 ) on Saturday September 02, 2000 @07:10AM (#809214)
    The US DOJ has drafted a report opposing the merger of Great Britain, France, Germany, etc. on the grounds that the new government would be too powerful.
  • I use to share a lot of your views. I thought, "We need to give money to those to help them make better lives for themselves." I thought that public schools and public libraries were important. I thought that the government should take an active role in insuring psychologically and physically handicapped individuals, incapable of working, were able to survive.

    After reading Atlas Shrugged and The Voice of Reason (a collection of Rand's essays), I believe quite the opposite. One thing Objectivism strongly encourages (of which Rand is the founder) is reason. "The only evil thought is to not think at all." Start reading Atlas Shrugged (it's a long book, ~1,200 pages). When I started I found myself unable to fall asleep at night, questioning the many socialist thoughts I had. When thinking rationally about these thoughts, in simple terms, I came to the realization that I have shared with you in my past posts. What I believe I believe is correct, since I've spent countless hours reasoning through it. As John Galt says in Atlas Shrugged: "When I disagree with a ratnional man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit." Now go and read Atlas Shrugged and The Voice of Reason and visit Objectivist Web sites (ask questions on alt.philosophy.objectivism, which I did quite a bit of), spend some serious time thinking about it rationally and reasonably, and I think you will come to agree with me...

  • In an ideal world, what you're saying is right. But you're assuming that 99% of the population are aware of the issues, care, or have the common sense to notice what's going on. I never cease to be amazed at some of my co-workers who believe what they read in the tabloid newspapers. If large media corporations can spin their version of events, then Joe and Jane Average are never going to know what's really happening

    I agree with you on a certain level. If you couldn't tell by my posts, I've been reading a bit of Rand lately. In any case, Rand speaks against those who hold a view such as you and I, that there are only a few intellects who really understand the issues.

    She argues that that sense of intellectual elitism is based upon childhood experiences, where we, the intellectuals, where chastised for our intellect. Hence, we rationalize that we were alone singled out and teased because so few had an intellect like ours. However, Objectivism, Rand's philosophy, frowns on rationalization; rather, it urges man to reason objectively rather than letting his emotions or subconscious get in the way.

    So, ask yourself, is it reasonable to assume that there exists an intellectual elite and that this class is aware of the issues while the ignorant mobs are not? I do not know the answer, hence the reason I ask...

  • by Money__ ( 87045 ) on Saturday September 02, 2000 @07:15AM (#809223)
    To get an idea of just how much Time/Warner media you consume every day of your life, take a look [cjr.org] at this list of Time Warner assets.
  • There are as many realities as there are people

    Don't buy that. From Rand: "Reality, the external world, exists independent of man's consciousness, independent of any observer's knowledge, beliefs, feelings, desires or fears. This means that A is A, that facts are facts, that things are what they are -- and that the task of man's consciousness is to perceive reality, not to create or invent it." (http://www.aynrand.org/objectivi sm/essentials.html [aynrand.org])

    I am no philosophy student and I've never claimed to be one. However, while reading Atlas Shrugged something just clicked inside me, I finally stopped accepting what I had always been told and started questioning my axiom base. While Objectivism may be "Fisher Price's My First Philosophy," it makes sense to me. My background in philosophy (or lack thereof) leads me to be best working with a simple philosophy. It is one that makes sense, in my opinion, since it is based upon reason. Why spend years debating on if we exist? To the Objectivist, one axiom is "existence exists." Pure and simple. Reality exists, things are what they are, A is A. You should take a breif moment out of your day (away from the potential time to read Shakespeare) and read "Introducing Objectivism," by Ayn Rand - http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/io.ht ml [aynrand.org]. Seriously, it will take you like 30 seconds, it's a quick skim over the philosophy.

    If you haven't seen _Roger & Me_ or _Citizen Kane_ yet, you should

    I've seen Citizen Kane, but not Roger and Me. I'd go rent it tonight, but I don't own a TV (that probably ruins any credibility you had in me, a guy in this day and age without a TV!?!?!!) B'wa ha ha!

  • Sorry I don't buy that the boycott is the fear that keeps corps in line. Its the fear of lawsuits from consumers or government action

    Companies shouldn't have to fear government action. Lawsuits are fine, though, and are needed. The courts are designed to protect consumers from fraud. If a corporation commits fraud, then they deserve to be sued and they deserve to compensate those they defrauded. So as you see, in the end, the consumers dictate how the corporations behave - if the corps commit fraud, consumers will sue them. What shouldn't happen is government interaction unless the corporations are physically harming the government's citizens (for example, that Thai company that made the armed robot... if the programmers booted up the robot with the "kill everyone in sight" program, then the government could use force to destroy the robot and take retalitory action on the corporation; otherwise, the government should stay the hell out of business.)

  • The morale is quite simple: selfishness is good. - That's your opinion, most European will disagree with you

    Selfishness is good, you must agree with it, otherwise you would have died long ago. Whose concern are you thinking about when you eat? Anyone but yours? No. Man needs to worry about satisfying his own needs before he can worry about satisfying the needs of society. Furthermore, man will accomplish more working for himself than working for others. A proven psychological fact: the harder you have to work for something the more you enjoy it. Imagine working to buy a car as opposed to just being given that car. You would appreciate the car much more having worked for it yourself. Selfishness and self-esteem go hand in hand. How can anyone who lives off the handouts of others have any shred of self respect? The food you work for to buy tastes better than the food you steal from a hard worker.

    Facists ideas and parties are nowadays still a big problem in France, and since it makes no sense helping them propagating their nazi propaganda

    Restricting rights is not the way to "handle" this problem. What if the "people" of France decide that Jewish leaders are also something that aren't that good, and so they "vote" to not allow Synagouges in the country, or they "vote" to not allow people of Jewish faith to hold office, or Jewish merchandise to be sold. If you do not stand up to protect the rights of the minority, do not be surprised when your rights are taken from you. Have you read that poem from a Pastor about the hollocaust? I don't know it ver batim, but it goes like: "When they came for the homosexuals, I didn't say anything, because I was not gay / When they came for the Jews, I looked the other way, because I was a Catholic / When they came for the poor and homeless, I said nothing, since I had food and shelter / When they came for me, there was no one left to say anything."

  • Are you completly deconnected from the reality of the power fight of countries, corporations, and people?

    What are you arguing? That corporations are out to fuck people? That government is out to fuck people? That government is out to fuck corporations? What are you saying? All of the above statements are quite preposterous. What do you recommend, government controlled businesses? No better way to increase productivity than to have all forms of commerce operated by the beaurocrats.

  • The consumers aren't specialists

    And the government is?

    and most of them have no time to spent to analyze with excruating details how good/bad the actions, products, investements, policy of each product they are buying are good for environment, society, their health etc

    I can't believe what you are saying. You are arguing that the government should be given the power to decide what products are good/bad for the environment/society/health/me. Fuck that, I don't appreciate people making decisions that I can make for myself. I will decide a given product is unsafe for me, I don't want some group of government officials to TELL ME what is and isn't safe for me.

  • The most susceptible trap to fall into is to not think rationally. It is to easy to think irrationally, and, if man makes a conscious effort to think rationally, self interest is good.

    If I'm on a lifeboat with 6 other people, we won't get picked up for 20 days, we only have enough food to keep us alive for 10. People using Randian ethics won't sacrifice themselves, because they are too busy worrying about the consequences for them

    An irrational thinker who has his self interest as his main concern, will do exactly as you say. A rational thinker will realize that everyone needs to work together. Remember, Rand is vehemenently against initiating physical violence. So the rational Randian wouldn't kill others, or steal their rations. He would try to keep everyone calm, worry about finding help, or coming up with viable solutions for the problem at hand.

    You are the mayor of some city... the only option is for you to publicly execute someone for the crime, even if that person is innocent

    Again, Rand is completely opposed to initiating physical violence. From the mouth of Rand: "... no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no man may initiate the use of physical force against others." - http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/io.ht ml [aynrand.org].

    Self-interest is key. Read Atlas Shrugged, there is a ~65 page speech from the main character where Rand spells out in great detail her philosophy. (It was the hardest part of the book to get through. While it summed up her theory well, it's hard to read sixty some pages of a character's speech in a novel.) You cannot live a happy life sacrificing for others, you cannot lead a productive life sacrificing for others. The US gov't realized the nature of this and set up patents, allowing people to protect their inventions as an incentive to create. Do you think we'd have all of our modern marvels today if creators, entrepenuers, and scientists knew that whatever they created they had to share its secrets with all of their competitors? It's hard enough as it is, being in business for myself, knowing that I have to give (or be jailed, a use of physical force) 39% of my income to a government who gives part of that to people who don't feel like working.

    If you have some time, I think you should try to find and read webpages that are against Objectivism, if you haven't already. You'll probably be surprised how many rational people don't agree with it

    I have, and it's quite obvious not everyone agrees with it, else we would have a laissez-faire capitalist economy and a minimalist government. If everyone agreed with it we'd have no welfare, no public schools, no people who expected to be given a free handout.

    I've also read most of The Voice of Reason, a collection of Rand's essays. There is a particular essay, "Altruism as Appeasement," that really struck home with me. It talks about how society and schools encourage people to stop thinking rationally and to feel guilt for having passionate self-interests. I wish I could find a version on the Web for you, but I've had no luck. It's a short essay, pick up the book from your library, it's worth it.

  • Corporations are out to fuck people. Their mission in life is to extract as much money out of your nose as possible.

    I don't understand why you are so trusting of self-appointed bureuacrats rather than elected officials? Don't you think democracy is a good idea? I'd rather not have my life controlled by corporations thank you.


    ---
  • by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <mitchell&4guysfromrolla,com> on Saturday September 02, 2000 @08:57AM (#809232) Homepage
    Am I in favour of governments interfering with companies? If they protect the consumer then I do

    I don't see why the government would need to "protect the consumer" from a corporation unless this corporation was waging battles in the streets of America (or abroad). In a capitalist economy, we have something more powerful than government: our dollars. If you do not want to see this merger go through, boycott Time-Warner and AOL and encourage your peers to. There's absolutely no need to get the government invovled.

    Why do people think they need to government to protect them from companies? The government is there to ensure our basic freedoms: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness/private property. A government's purpose is not to meddle with a free market: rather, let the consumers dictate how the market plays out.

  • The U.S. has had a policy of messing around with other country's affairs since about five years after we became a country.
  • These are the same hands-off capitalist "facts" that failed to stop child labor, workplace abuse, environmental abuse, etc. Sorry Ms. Rand but boycotts seldom do anything but raise awareness which is useless without the resulting legislation.
  • De Beers sells fucking diamonds. Who care about diamonds? It has some use in the industry, but overall it's mostly negligeable. It's just a minor detail.
  • ..and tell the EU to butt out. Who are they to say what two American companies can do?
  • I think this discussion is really pointless until you read Atlas Shrugged. At least get it and read the speech by John Galt (book three, the chapter titled, "This is John Galt Speaking").

    When you make a decision, you are more important than other people, you shouldn't be worrying about them, thats their concern

    Ugh. If I am nice to my neighbor, he will likely be nice to me. Hence it is in my self-interest to be nice to my neighbor. Read John Galt's speech, read John Galt's speech, read it, read it, read it.

    No where in Rand's ethics is it specified that one should sacrifice oneself for the good of the many

    Correct, but working together on the life boat would greatly increase the chances of everyone's survival. Since you would be in the set of everyone, your chances of survival would increase. Hence, it would be in your self-interest to encourage people to work together. It would not be in your self0interest to kill everyone and eat their food - you would violate the physical violence factor and "those who live by the gun, die by the gun."

    Theft is not acceptible in Rand's theory. Rand believes strongly in free men freely trading. Theft is not trading. Wantless destruction is not trading. Rand is so against senseless violence, against stealing, etc. Why do you think I have been bitching about taxes? I DON'T LIKE THIEVES! The government is stealing my money, I have no option but to give it to them (or go to jail).

    You're faced with a madman who is going to kill 100 people, unless you kill one of them. What do you do?

    Perhaps you should reread the Objectivist URLs I provided: "The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders." Physical force is acceptible in retaliation or self-defense. If an invader attacks your nation, you can defend yourself and retaliate. If everyone followed the simple rule, "Do not initiate violence," there would be zero violence. READ JOHN GALT'S SPEACH. It discusses this issue in detail. No rational man wants violence, but if he is dealing with those whose moral code is to use violence, a rational man will realize he must respond with said violence.

    Aren't our representatives leading happy lives sacrificing for us?

    This made me laugh out loud. I would agree with you if they were paid nothing for their job, but they get paid well, have special interest money to pamper them, etc. I really can't believe you said this, that is too funny. Our representatives, OKing the billions of dollars to fight drugs? OKing $27 million dollars for their own parties once a year (the conventions)? That is serving us sacrifically? Tee hee! Tell you what, why don't you give me 33% of your income to let me throw a party, that's the kind of self-sacrifice I'd like to partake in!

    Objectivism should make sense to everyone. If reality really is objective, and Objectivism is sound, how can people reject it?

    Because there are so many irrational people! Do you believe in God? If you use mystical explanations for your arguments, then you are arguing irrationally. There are so few rational people, at least as Rand defines "rational." The basic tenet, that A is A, is ignored by many. To quote Rand:

    "To exist is to possess identity. What identity are [mystics] able to give to their superior realm? They keep telling you what it is not, but never tell you what it is. All their identifications consist of negating: God is that which no human mind can know, they say -- and proceed to demand that you consider it knowledge -- God is non-man, heaven is non-earth, soul is non-body, virtue is non-profit, A is non-A, perception is non-sensory, knowledge is non-reason. Their definitions are not acts of defining, but of wiping out."

    Let me quote Rand once more, I really do find her arguments quite convincing when given serious thought: "If conditions of existence are destructive to genius, they are destructive to every man, each in proportion to his intelligence. If genius is penalized, so is the faculty of intelligence in every other man." From Atlas Shrugged:

    "In proportion to the mental energy he spent, the man who creates a new invention receives but a small percentage of his value in terms of material payment, no matter what fortune he makes, no matter what millions he earns. But the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him. And the same is true of all men between, on all levels of ambition and ability. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the 'competition' between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of 'exploitation' for which you have damned the strong."

    To conclude, please, please, please read John Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged.

  • Since you are one who enjoys serving the self-interests of others as opposed to your own, perhaps the fact that others have consistently rated Atlas Shrugged as one of the most influential book of all time (second only to the Bible) will encourage you to read it? (The survey results come from the Book of the Month Club in conjunction with the Library of Congress.)

    That being said, will you read Atlas Shrugged? It may not be as long as the Bible, but you'll definitely get more out of it and it will cause you to question more than the Bible causes you to... Now... go read Atlas Shrugged! :-)

  • Since you are one who enjoys serving the self-interests of others as opposed to your own, perhaps the fact that others have consistently rated Atlas Shrugged as one of the most influential book of all time (second only to the Bible) will encourage you to read it? (The survey results come from the Book of the Month Club in conjunction with the Library of Congress.)

    That being said, will you read Atlas Shrugged? It may not be as long as the Bible, but you'll definitely get more out of it and it will cause you to question more than the Bible causes you to... Now... go read Atlas Shrugged! :-)

  • You must first understand and realize that "self-interest" doesn't mean a "fuck everyone else" attitude. I really think you are grasping at straws here, and that you know this to be the case. I get pleasure out of spending time with my friends, and enjoy their company. Hence it is in my self-interest to listen to them, be nice to them, etc. I enjoy working with computers and helping people and volunteer every Thursday for three hours to build low-grade computers with Internet access that are given (for free) to home-bound, low-income disabled people. It is in my self-interest to do this because I enjoy helping others and I enjoy mucking around with computer hardware. In fact, I'll go as far to say that anything a rational man consciously chooses to do is in his self-interest. The problem arises when a man is told what to do and threatened with violence to make him comply. I'd hope you'd agree with that, and that is exactly what welfare is. I am made to support others or I will go to jail, plain and simple.

    Today's justice system is very good in the eyes of an objectivist. A madman would be prosecuted for ending the lives of others, companies that commit fraud would be sued in a court of law by consumers. Criminals would be punished for their crimes... Objectivists aren't cowards, ducking action, they just don't believe in using force to get someone to do something. Rather than sticking a gun in someone's face, offer a trade of some sort. Companies do this, the government doesn't. Companies don't say, "Hey, give us money or we'll arrest you," they say, "You can purchase our goods or services for money." It is up to you to decide if what the seller is selling his goods for is a fair price and if you even want what the seller is offerring. You can easily refuse the sale and not be threatened with jail time. The government, on the other hand, forces you to pay taxes for programs you have not approved. That is robbery in its purest form.

    And I do think irrational people do qualify as being in the "mental lower class."

    People are born rational, they make a conscious choice to think irrationally.

    If there are so few rational people, how is it that society works

    Please read Atlas Shrugged and you will see how this works. Those who are rational carry the burden. In today's society, most people are hard workers and are rational beings. However, there are a number of people who expect to cruise through life, who have no ambition, and how expect others to pay for their lack of work ethic. We have been brought up to think that everyone deserves the basics: food, clothing, shelter. I use to feel the same way, that welfare was a good thing, that the rich needed to watch out for the poor. However, after actually thinking about what I had been taught, I've come to realize that those moochers, those who expect the basics for FREE, they are criminals. Those who do not feel like working to feed their family should have their family starve.

    Right now, this class of moochers is fairly small, I think. However, if it keeps growing we will soon be immersed in the world set in Atlas Shrugged, where the few remaining industrialists toil to feed those who would rather not work. John Galt's speech brings up a good point when he asks why the moochers, who know nothing about industry, who know nothing about science, who know nothing about progress or efficiency, are allowed to elect the leaders who determine the rules of industry, the rules of science, and the rules of production.

    If [Rand] is really fighting for the rights of people, why must she be so condescending towards them

    Because she views irrational people as subhuman. Rand loves life, values to her include freedom, joy, happiness. Those who doubt reality, those who give their faith to mystics of the soul (religion) or mystics of muscle (those people who say man must sacrifice for "The People") give up their rationality. They turn those values into vices. Again, you really need to - at minimum - read John Galt's speech in Altas Shrugged.

    God is non-man, heaven is non-earth, soul is non-body, virtue is non-profit, A is non-A, perception is non-sensory, knowledge is non-reason

    I see why this might have been a little baffling, I took it out of context. Rand was quoting what mystics of the soul say. It's the mysic of the soul who says, "God is non-man, sould is non-body, A is non-A, perception is non-sensory..." Perception is non-sensory... to quote John Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged (which you need to read, BTW): "Those who tell you that man is unable to perceive a reality undistorted by his senses, mean that they are unwilling to perceive a reality undistorted by their feelings. 'Things as they are' are things as perceived by your mind; divorce them from reason and they become 'things as perceived by your wishes.'"

    What about CEO's who don't invent anything, but make millions of dollars a year

    Capitalism is great, it is a system where seller and buyer can freely negotiate a price amicable to both. There is nothing wrong with this, since the company agreed to pay the CEO $X and the CEO accepted $X. What would be wrong is for the government to step in and say, "Everone must be paid at least $Y (minimum wage)" or "Noone can be paid more than $Z." What right does the government have in setting terms in a free market?

    Objectivism boils down to a very simple point, one that I agree with wholeheartedly: "Man should be able to make his own decisions." Should an individual be able to do heroine? It's his decision, let him weigh the consequences and decide if it's right for him, no one should be able to forcibly prevent him from doing such a drug. Should man give money to the needy? If he wants to, it's his call, but under no circumstances should someone force him to. I hope you agree with Man's right to make his own decisions and not be forced into making a particular one.

  • by Shaheen ( 313 ) on Saturday September 02, 2000 @07:29AM (#809252) Homepage
    I'm sorry this is OT, but I thought that people would be interested and Slashdot would probably not make a story out of it. I just wanted to point out that the Slashdot Copyright notice at the bottom of the page has changed - it now says "... The Rest Copyright OSDN"

    OSDN is the Open Source Developer's Network. So, I'm guessing that VA's corporate structure has changed or something like that and Slashdot is now not its own entity. Am I right? I wonder if it means some changes are coming around the bend...
  • I applaud your contribution to society. Would you still volunteer if it entailed a 2 hour drive? If the ceiling dripped on you where you volunteered? What if parking cost 20$? What I'm trying to get at is, how much satisfaction do you really get out of volunteering, and why you do it but once a week and for only 3 hours?

    I don't know if I'd volunteer if those conditions existed. In any case, it should be my decision if I wished to put up with those inconveniences to volunteer. It is my decision to donate 3 hours a week, no more no less. Those are all my decisions that I made. No one made them for me. How would you feel if the government required that you donate 3 hours a week to help the less fortunate? I would hate it? I donate 3 hours per week on my own accord, because I want to. What I don't want is to be commanded what to do. Answer me this: do you enjoy being told what to do? Do you enjoy having someone threaten you with jail time if you do not comply to their wishes?

    Outline why it is in your self-interest to save this homeless guy, and maybe I will believe egoism is a sound ethical system

    It is for a rational man to decide if it is worth his effort. Would I save the person's life? Yes. Would you? That is your decision, not mine.

    Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, except for those that I deem irrational

    You really, really, really need to read Atlas Shrugged. So far I have been quoting Rand out of context (since the 1200+ pages would take too long to type in here). Rand argues those who are irrational hold life, libery, and happiness as vices, they seek to take those three things from others. Those who wish to rob you of your rights do not deserve to have you uphold their own rights. If a murderer is attempting to kill you, do not hesitate to retaliate in self defense - do not worry about his right to life when he is obviously not concerned about your right to life.

    Now, are these people subhuman because they chose to be irrational, or because they are irrational

    Because they choose to be irrational. Humans are born with perception, the ability to perceive reality in rational terms. It is a choice they make to ignore reality, to follow their feelings as opposed to their perceptions.

    I know they did not choose to be irrational

    I had chosen to think irrationally, to follow all of that silly "serve the people" rhetoric taught these days. I then decided to think for myself and have since become a rational being, IMHO. I thought irrationally before (welfare == good) and chose to stop thinking in such a way. If I can do it, why can't others?

    If you look at the Rand quote you provided, you'll notice she is angry that people that don't get paid in relationship to the amount of mental energy they expend. The government has nothing to do with this

    Uh, it's called minimum wage. The government forces businesses to pay a minimal amount. That's not capitalism. The CEO is using many more brain cells than the janitor.

    I'm finding it difficult to enjoy it as either a philosophical text, or as story. The characters, thus far, have all been painted with one of two colors, good or bad

    I'll agree that this is one weakness of it from a story point, the characters are quite one-dimensional. Those that are good remain good throughout - those that are bad remain bad throughout.

    If she wants people to act in accordance to their best interests, why should a big railroad company vote against securing a solid revenue stream? Yeah, we know they shouldn't, but nowhere is a reason given as to why it serves my best interest to have a competitor?

    Just keep reading, you'll see why...

    Glad to hear you decided to read it, I think you'll find it interesting. Rand lays it on heavy at times, but I think it is both a good story and a good philosophical text. Compare it to today... should Microsoft's fate be controlled by the gov't? What if Microsoft ends up going down five years down the road from the government fucking with them? You may think that would only cost the jobs of 30,000 greedy software engineers at MS, but there are millions of others who make a living based on MS. I have written two books on Microsoft technologies and run a Web site covering ASP (an MS technology) that makes money via advertising. The last thing I want to see is Microsoft go down, or my livelihood is hampered as well.

  • Why? Why would you save [the bum's] life. Rational people have to have reasons for their actions

    Because I value my life and assume he values his. Because if I were to be choking one day and that bum was to be crossing my path, I'd want him to assist me as I would assist him.

    As far as I can tell, you are going to save the bums life because you "know" its right. Why do you know its right, because society says so

    It is quite irrational to just "know" something is one thing or the other. Mystics claim this power, I do not. Spiritual mystics "know" that God created the heavens and the Earth... how? I dunno, but they "know" it. I do not profess to "know" anything. My rational knowledge is based upon the sum of my observations. Of course, years of living in a "we" society have instilled certain irrational beliefs in me, ones that I am trying to shake or replace with rational reasons.

    If you can provide me with a good reason as to why you would save the bums life, we can move on from this

    To requote myself: "Because I value my life and assume he values his. Because if I were to be choking one day and that bum was to be crossing my path, I'd want him to assist me as I would assist him."

    If you are forced to go to church, or whatever, since day 1, you are not going to be able to CHOOSE what to believe in

    Ha! I was forced to go to church every Sunday for a loooong time. When I was about 11 I started questioning it all, putting my stock in science. I told my parents that I didn't believe in Christianity. They still made me go to Church. They made me be confirmed. I went, but protested in my own ways: I wouldn't take communion; I wouldn't read a Bible passage in front of the congregation like the others getting confirmed had to. When I went to those confirmation classes, I questioned everything to the angst of the poor teacher there. By the time I was 13 my parents stopped making me go to church, but even if they continued, it would not have affected my beliefs.

    You ever wonder why religous people tend to beget more religous people

    Because a lot of people accept what they are told without rationally questioning it.

    The ability to choose what you believe in has all but been removed at birth

    Hardly, as I think my personal anecdote displayed quite well.

    Ever hear of opportunity cost? If clean floors aren't worth the amount of money to clean them, don't clean them. If people think janitors are too expensive, they won't pay for them. Simple as that. Minimum wage very well be wrong, (I've been stradling the issue for a few months now.) but if you don't think clean floors are worth 800$ a month, deal with dirty floors

    Exactly, but what if I think clean floors are worth $400 a month and I find a good cleaner who agrees and will do the work for $400 a month? I have to pay this person as a contractor or under the table, otherwise I am violating minimum wage laws.

    Microsoft DID do these things, and they are wrong

    Wrong by whose standards? By the law of the land? Yes, perhaps, but is that law just? Microsoft knew of the laws, though, and made a rational decision to break them and take the consequences that might come along with them... but still, are the laws right?

  • Firstly, you won't ever encounter this person again, so there is no chance that he will have an opportunity to return the favor. Secondly, your action will in no way shape the way other people will treat you, you saving his life won't make it any more likely that someone else will save you. Your action does not benefit you. If you believe it does, I think you are deluding yourself

    I think it does in a way. Most members of society agree to the tenet, "Hey, if I see you, I'll save your life." Why? So that others will save MY life if I am the one dying. Hence, me agreeing to than tenet increases the chances that someone will attempt to save my life, hence it is in my self-interest.

    Are you willing to disregard this thing you "know"? You have a gut feeling as to what is right, which is what I meant by "know"

    When I was younger, I had a gut feeling that masturbation was wrong, that it was a sin. I felt guilty for doing it. My parents never told me not to touch myself, never heard about it in church, I can't remember any specific event that would lead me to feel that way. Regardless, I felt guilty, like it was something to be ashamed of. However, after maturing a bit and giving it rational thought, I realized that it was nothing to be embarassed or ashamed about. So... that "gut feeling" of guilt, does that mean masturbation is "evil?" Hardly. It was an irrational thought, and shows the mental stress such irrational thinking can have on a person.

    Rand said, basically

    Again, it was out of context. You can read the whole quote at: http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/Q3.ht ml [aynrand.org]. You can read the whole essay by going to your library and checking out a copy of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

    The one thing that I do strongly dislike that MS did was strongarm Intel to give up some of their technological advances. That appals me, and I think it bugs BillG too (he is a uber-geek and geeks don't like holding back technology). What I don't like is the view people have of Microsoft that they are a bunch of rich whining babies who deserve to get sued because they are so rich. If I had a nickel for everytime I've read, "Why should BillG not be sued, he's got so much money as it is..." (or something along those lines...) That infuriates me, those who say that are no better than the hordes of looters and moochers in Atlas Shrugged.

  • This is the second time the EU has had something to say about the merging of two US companies. First it was with the Sprint/MCI merger and now this(Let alone what they have to say about M$). Not too long ago however, they made threats to the US saying we MUST approve the merger of Deutsche Telekom and Voice Stream or else they would make the US life difficult. I'm tired of the EU butting themselves into our mergers and then complaining if we try to block them. Now I know that Voice Stream was a much smaller deal than either of the previous mergers, but that doesn't justify them sticking their nose into our businesses. If other countries can institute anti-competitive practices(namely Japan, Europe), its time for the US to follow suit....:-)
  • What I meant was, you have two possible conclusions, either your "gut feeling" is wrong, or Rand's ethics are wrong

    Then my "gut feeling" is wrong. Rand's ethics are quite simple: make rational decisions based on reality. Following a "feeling" with no rational ties is silly. Believing that abortion is wrong because you feel ill when thinking of an aborted fetus is not a rational reason, nor a valid argument against abortion. Those feelings were not there at birth - rather, society has trained me (and you and everyone else) to have certain reactions to certain stimuli. Have you ever heard of that pscyhological experiment where they showed one group of kids a video of an adult beating up an inflatible clown and the other group of kids just saw the adult playing with toys. The kids that saw the adult act violently, when put in a room with the toys (and clown), beat the clown - the other kids simply played with the toys like normal kids. Another experiment showed that when a young child's mother acts scared of an object, the child will fear that object as well. It's advantageous to our survival, to observe what to fear, what to avoid, etc., and, since we are social creatures, to see what others are doing and immitate it. It is built into us biologically, refined via evolution, but just because our "training" has us "sure" of "gut feelings" that hardly makes them right.

    "The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time." Having read the entire quote now, I think have a better grasp of what she meant, but I still think she would be against CEO's earning more than the inventors

    Actually, it is still a little out of context. If you read the paragraph after that quote, it will make even more sense what she is saying. The quote was from Atlas Shrugged, John Galt Speech (pg. 980 in the copy I have).

    Of course, I think your beliefs don't really coincide with that of the movie. It just might be torture for you

    Did the main character sacrifice himself for the sake of others due to being forced by threat of jail or violence? If so, then, you're right, it would violate my moral stance.

    Either I have not heard anyone say that, or people have said it and I have subconciously filtered that out. That doesn't make sense. It _can't_ make sense

    You'll see quotes just like that (and similar ones like: "BillG shouldn't complain, he can afford any settlement the gov't throws at him") here on /.

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